Yessica's Journey Blog

Welcome to the Yessica's Journey Blog Site, a Journey through Mental Health, Wellbeing and Creativity.


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Invited by Time to Change to the House of Commons to celebrate World Mental Health Day 2013

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Copyright Extracts from Time to Change Website Article. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Link to Anastacia’s article on the Time to Change Website

Link to Time to Change Website Article
What a way to celebrate World Mental Health Day. I was given the most amazing opportunity and was invited to the Terrace Pavillion at the House of Commons to celebrate parliament’s work in challenging mental health discrimination with Time to Change and charities Mind and Rethink. Some of the Time to Change Champions across the country were invited to the event as a thank you for their support to the campaign. I feel very privileged to have been given this once in a lifetime opportunity.

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Anastacia centre with Time to Change Champions at the House of Commons on World Mental Health Day

Nick Clegg the Deputy Prime Minister, Alastair Campbell and other MPs including Kevan Jones were there. The event was held to celebrate the successful work of Time to change and focused on MPs talking about their own mental health and making a pledge and commitment to giving more support to the mental health and wellbeing of their employees and ending discrimination in the workplace. The event also celebrated the passing of the Mental Health Discrimination No 2 Act 2013 which allows people who have had experience of mental health problems to be MPs, Company Directors and Jurors.

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MPs are beginning to speak out about their own mental health. Many organisations and employers have pledged to address mental health issues.

Below slideshow showing images from event.

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Attitudes are slowly changing and it is through the hard work of campaigns like Time to Change, mental health organisations and people who speak out about their own mental health that has helped to make these changes possible.

Having the strength and courage to speak out is not easy but it is through people’s individual qualities, through their determination and passion that will help to change attitudes in our society. Just having a conversation with someone goes a long way to help break down the barriers and stereotypes associated with mental health. Through education we can learn to think differently, we can start to understand and empathise and that is when people will begin to change how they perceive mental health.

It is important to realise that we all have mental health and we are all unique individuals so this affects our whole society. If mental health affects everyone, our society needs to first recognise this in order to change it. Mental health affects everything in our lives, including our relationships and work, this is why it is fundamental to change society as a whole so we can start to find new creative and innovative ways to help support future generations of people.

Not only do some people who have mental health difficulties face stigma and discrimination in our society but they are also faced with a lack of support, difficulty in accessing services and staff shortages mainly due to severe cuts in mental health budgets. The Government needs to recognise this and take mental health seriously. Mental Health services are struggling and I hope that more will be done to provide the support that is needed for future generations of people with mental health difficulties.

I am very fortunate to have received the care I needed through the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust recently, it has made a huge difference to my life and I am extremely grateful to the staff who supported me. They were very understanding and compassionate and I can’t thank them enough for the help they gave me.

Lizzie Green Project Manager at Time to Change

Lizzie Green Project Manager at Time to Change

I met so many lovely people at the event and was slightly nervous but very excited about going to the House of Commons. It was really nice to meet the staff from the campaign including Lizzie Green who is the Project Officer, Social Leadership Team at Time to Change who made me feel really welcome.

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I also met Sue Baker who is the Director of Time to Change and it was really good to talk to her about mental health.

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Link to Time to Change Article
Quote Extract from Sue Baker, Director taken from Time to Change Article.
‘…we are seeing unprecedented support from many different industries who now see the importance of tackling mental health stigma and discrimination… in the last year and a half, we’ve seen huge improvements in the way that mental health is perceived in Parliament and among the public as a whole…’

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change

I met some really nice Time to Change Champions and we got on so well. It was nice to meet so many friendly people and we had quite a laugh.

Anastacia and Time to Change Champions

Anastacia and Time to Change Champions

The Houses of Parliament are incredible. The architecture is just beautiful and I found it so inspirational to be there. It definitely has the Wow Factor and I have never been anywhere like it in my life, it was quite surreal. There was a lot of security there which is understandable and we had to be searched and scanned before we went in, bit like being at an Airport.

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Sue Baker and MPs

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Keith Winstein and Lizzie Green who work for Time to Change with the Photographer in the Pavillion

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Alastair Campbell who attended the event

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Guests at the House of Commons Pavillion

The reception was held in the Pavillion overlooking the Thames and we were served canopies which was really nice.

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I got a bit lost trying to find my way out of Parliament, it is so huge and like a maze inside. I managed to buy a souvenir – a little teddy who is quite cute. I was not allowed to take photos in certain areas of the building and after three glasses of wine and getting lost I took a picture of a beautiful ceiling by mistake. A security man came over and I apologised and offered to delete it from my camera but he said it was OK but they would just lock me in the tower which I found quite funny.

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I feel so lucky to have been given this amazing opportunity and I had such a fantastic day, met so many lovely people, saw the most amazing architecture and enjoyed every moment of it. To be involved in something so special and important in helping to improve attitudes about mental health is something I will never forget. Thank you Time to Change and special thanks to Oz Osborne Rural Communities Co-ordinator and Sarah James, Eastern Regional Co-ordinator from Time to Change who nominated me.

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Below more pictures of the House of Commons. For additional pictures see slideshow near top of article.

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Invite from Time to Change to attend event at House of Commons

Invite from Time to Change to attend event at House of Commons


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Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Mentors – Huge thanks to Peter Gianfrancesco and Welcome to New Mentor Amanda Hedley Chief Executive Officer

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved Please do not copy or download images or text.

Peter Gianfrancesco and Amanda Hedley New CEO at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Peter Gianfrancesco and Amanda Hedley New CEO at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

I would like to say a Huge thank you to Peter Gianfrancesco for all his help and support on the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project. Peter who is the Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, has been my mentor for several years and has been a huge asset to the project with his knowledge and experience of mental health and wellbeing. I would like to thank him for all the help he has given me over the years and for believing in me and not giving up on me despite the difficulties I have had with the project. I would like to thank Peter and Mind for helping to fund the project. We are staying in touch which is great, Peter has always shown a genuine interest in the project and I won’t let him down.

Anastacia with Peter Gianfrancesco

Anastacia with Peter Gianfrancesco

Peter is leaving Mind to work abroad in America and Australia. It is very sad to lose Peter and he will be missed by so many people including myself. I wish him well for the future and look forward to seeing him at the launch of ‘Yessica’s Journey’ in a few years time with Trisha. Peter is a brilliant communicator, great listener and an extremely caring person. He has a great sense of humor and has done so much in developing Mind with his innovative ideas for which he should be very proud.

Anastacia with Amanda Hedley New Mentor for the Project

Anastacia with Amanda Hedley New Mentor for the Project

I would like to welcome Amanda Hedley the new Chief Executive Officer at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind to the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project. Amanda is my new mentor and I am looking forward to working with her in the future. I would like to thank Amanda for her interest and support and I enjoyed showing both Peter and Amanda the development of the project. I would also like to congratulate Amanda on her new job at Mind and wish her well.

Amanda has a background working in the NHS for many years and her experience and knowledge of Mental Health will be a huge asset to the project.

Peter and Amanda

Peter and Amanda


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Yessica’s Journey NHS Mentors – Huge thank you to Roz Brooks and Welcome to New Mentors Michele Allott and Graham Creelman

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I would like to thank Roz Brooks for all her support and help on the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project as my mentor. Roz is the Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and is sadly leaving at the end of the month. She has been my mentor for several years and has helped me so much.  She has always given me her time even though she is incredibly busy and is someone who has always got back to me which I do appreciate.  She also has a great sense of humor so I have enjoyed our meetings. She helped and supported me to apply for further funding from the NHS Charitable funds earlier this year and we successfully received it to make some of the puppets for the animation, so huge thanks to Roz, Maggie Wheeler, Graham Creelman and the Trust.

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From Left to Right – Mentor Meeting with Roz Brooks Director of Nursing and Patient Safety, Michele Allott Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia

Maggie Wheeler was also my mentor and left earlier this year. She was the Chair of the Trust and also helped and supported me with Roz throughout the project. Maggie showed a genuine interest in my project and also helped support the Charitable funding bid. She has always been so enthusiastic and encouraging. I have stayed in touch with Maggie which is great, she has a great sense of humor so I have enjoyed working with her. Maggie is now the Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance and Chair of the Garage and is an Associate at Foresight Partnership . Gary Page is the New Chair at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust and I wish him well in his new role at the Trust. Please click here to see earlier Blog about Maggie.

I will really miss Maggie and Roz as I enjoyed working with both of them. Thanks for putting up with me and keep in touch.  I would also like to thank both of you for your help earlier this year and last year when I had a relapse – I appreciate all the help and support you gave me and thank you both and will always be grateful to the Trust for the help I received through my care when I was unwell.

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Trust from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia - Yessica's Journey Meeting

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Trust from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia . Maggie has been one of the mentors for the Yessica’s Journey project

I am so pleased to announce that Michele Allott is one of my new mentors for the project at the NHS. Michele is the Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. She has already been a huge help and she really has shown a genuine interest in the project. I would like to welcome Michele to the project and look forward to working with her in the future. We have already had a meeting together with Roz and I showed them the progress and development of the project. Please see picture below. They both suggested that we promote the project more within the NHS which is great and I am looking forward to working with Michele.

Michele has worked for many years within the NHS and has a background in Mental Health, her experience and knowledge will be a huge benefit to the project.

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From Left to Right – Mentor Meeting with Roz Brooks Director of Nursing and Patient Safety, Michele Allott Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia

I am pleased to announce that Graham Creelman who is the Non-Executive Director, Deputy Chair and Senior Independent Director at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is also my new mentor for the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Project. Graham joined the project earlier this year and has been a huge help to the project already and I would like to welcome him to the project. I have shown Graham the progress of the project.

He has had a long career in journalism, film making and production. He was also the managing director of Anglia TV and director of regional programming for the ITV network. Graham is currently a consultant on creativity within organisations including the Norwich University of the Arts which is where I worked for 15 years and also did my degree. He also has an OBE for services to broadcasting. Grahams experience in film making and creativity will be a huge help to the project.

Graham Creelman Non Executive Director at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Graham Creelman Non Executive Director at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – showing Graham the development of the project

I have been very lucky with all the mentors I have had from the NHS. Michele and Graham will be fantastic for the project and I can’t thank them enough for their time and patience.

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From Left to Right – Mentor Meeting with Roz Brooks Director of Nursing and Patient Safety, Michele Allott Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

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Graham Creelman Non Executive Director at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

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From Left to Right – Mentor Meeting with Roz Brooks Director of Nursing and Patient Safety, Michele Allott Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust


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NHS Early Intervention Psychosis Team Staff Away Day

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

I was pleased to be invited to a Staff Away Day by Psychologist Ruth Turner who works for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s Early Intervention Psychosis Team. I was asked to do a presentation of my mental health journey and incorporate an animation film I made when I first become unwell whilst studying for my degree. I was also asked to show my showreel of animations including ‘Yessica’s Journey’ which is hoped to be used by the NHS and Mind in training workshops and events when completed. The event took place at Carrow Road in Norwich.

Ruth Turner and Anastacia with Staff at the Early Intervention Psychosis Team Away Day at Carrow Road.

Ruth Turner and Anastacia with Staff at the Early Intervention Psychosis Team Away Day at Carrow Road. I got everyone to make coloured cone hats as a joke which was fun.

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Anastacia doing her presentation to the Early Intervention Psychosis Team

I first met Ruth when I was invited to do an event by the Chalk Circle Theatre Company last year. I was asked to talk about my journey and show my animations and work. This was the first time I had ever done anything like this and I was extremely nervous. I invited a representative from the NHS and Mind as both organisations have helped to fund the project. Maggie Wheeler who was the Chair of the NHS Trust and was also my mentor for the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project kindly asked Ruth to represent the Trust which is how I met her. The project has given me so many opportunities to meet people within the NHS and be involved with the Trust.

When Ruth asked me I was really pleased but also a bit nervous as I knew there would be around 40 staff there and I was also given around an hour to do the presentation, something I am not used to doing. I went in the week before to Carrow Road to make sure my Apple laptop worked on their projector and it was a good job I did as they had to get a special adapter. The presentation went really well and although I was a bit nervous to start with I noticed that I was much more confident that I thought I would be. I was asked so many questions by the staff and everyone seemed really interested in my journey and animations which was so nice and quite unexpected.

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Anastacia presenting which image of Yessica in the background

I stayed for the whole day and had lunch with the staff and was invited to join in staff group activities which was fun. Everyone was so nice and friendly and they made me feel really welcome. I was also asked by many staff if I would be interested in working with them in the future doing more talks and being involved in art with the team which I was really pleased about and was not expecting. I got some really good feedback from staff so that was really nice and I was pleased the talk was successful and helpful. Someone commented on the fact that I presented it by talking naturally about my journey and didn’t follow a plan. In the past I would never have been able to do this as talking about yourself is quite hard but I have noticed that I am less nervous and more confident for the first time in my life about public speaking and presenting, something I never thought I would be able to do without feeling nervous.

I think it is through my journey and experience, especially after the relapse I had last year and through the talking therapy I received from the NHS that has helped me with my confidence. Most of my life I feel I have wasted time worrying about what other people think of me, what if I muck up, what if something goes wrong, what if… but what if – so many if’s and but’s. I have learned slowly through experience that it really does not matter and once you conquer that fear you can find the confidence within yourself to no longer be afraid. We sometimes spend our lives living in fear so this really is an amazing gift which I feel I have gained through my mental health experience. Something good and positive has come from my journey and never in a million years did I ever think I would conquer my fears in talking to large groups and most importantly not worrying about it. To gain confidence is a wonderful thing, it can help you do so much more in life. To build confidence takes time and patience but the rewards are huge.

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Staff from the Early Intervention Team

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Peter Edge on the left at the Staff Away Day

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Peter Edge who works for the NHS was also at the event and it was really nice to see him there as he used to be my mentor for the project. Above is a Slideshow of images from the staff event.


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Collecting Yessica Puppet Heads from David Neat

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved Please do not copy/download images or text.

David Neat in his Studio

I was so excited as I travelled down to London to see David Neat who has made Yessica’s Heads for the Stop Motion Puppet in ‘Yessica’s Journey’. She looks amazing and David has done a fantastic job of creating her, she looks so beautiful. It was so lovely to see her come to life and finally her heads are finished. Seeing all my designs and hard work finally finished was a very special moment for me. I have changed her design many times over the years, her design often reflecting the emotional mood I was in. I have noticed how when I was really unwell my drawings and designs are quite different to when I am feeling more well. She started off being quite abstract and strange-looking but I realised that some of my ideas would not work for the wider audience so I kept some of my original ideas and modified it.

David in his studio

David in his studio

David is an extremely talented Sculptor, Model Maker and teacher and I am very lucky to have met him. He has made the set for the animation which looks amazing. I managed to pusade him to make her heads as he had never made a puppet head before and the budget was very small for the amount of work and time he has given to it.  He is also very busy with his own art and teaching commitments. It was a challenge for him and he learnt many new techniques. He spent a lot of time on it and managed to solve many difficult problems in making her. One of her heads was particularly hard to make.

I would like to thank David Neat for all the hard work he has put into this project, his time and commitment and his attention to detail. I will always be grateful to him, he is a very kind man and I don’t think anyone else would have cared as much as he has about making her and the set to such a high standard. His passion for his work shines though her and I hope he is as proud of her as I am.

Testing Yessica Armature on Perforated Metal Sheet

Testing Yessica Armature on Perforated Metal Sheet

Unfortunately I can’t show her or the designs until 6/8 months before the film is due to be completed in 2016 but I can assure everyone that you will be impressed with the high standard and quality of his work. Without David I don’t think the animation would look as professional and without his help and commitment to the project I would have really struggled. He has created my ideas beautifully and to see everything come to life has truly been special to me.

I have not been the easiest person to work with either and David has always been very patient with me and I have no idea how he has put up with me at times. Often I would come up with so many ideas, change my mind a lot and I was always behind and late with getting designs to David which caused so many delays.

When I got her back I only had a few days to test out the heads on the armature as I then had to take her back to London for Fiona Barty to make her body and Costume. It was great to finally do some stop motion animation just for testing to make sure everything was working and see any problems there may be with animating her.

The set and puppets will all be used hopefully in training workshops, events, exhibitions and will permanently go on display. It will be used to inspire people both in Mental Health, Education and Art. I hope it also encourages creativity in people and a passion for their work whatever medium that may be.

Thank you David.


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Maggie Wheeler (Chair) is Leaving the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Thank you for being my mentor for the project.

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved Do not copy images or text or download.

Maggie Wheeler who has been Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is leaving the Trust after working there for over 10 years. I was really pleased to be invited to her leaving party. Below is a picture of Maggie with flowers she received and Graham Creelman who is the Non-Executive Director at the Trust. Graham made a speech at the party.

Maggie Wheeler, Chair and Graham Creelman Non Executive Director

Maggie Wheeler, Chair and Graham Creelman Non Executive Director

I was really sad to see Maggie leave, I have only known her for a very short time and she is a lovely kind person with a warm heart, she is also very bubbly and has a great sense of humor. Maggie has been one of my mentors for the Yessica’s Journey project and I would like to thank her for all her time and support, she has been a brilliant mentor and I will miss her.

Here is Maggie cutting her cake. Maggie is now the Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance and Chair of the Garage and is an Associate at Foresight Partnership.

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Maggie Wheeler cutting her cake

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B Maggies Leaving Party

There were lots of people at the party and some lovely food. Maggie received some gifts from the Trust including some lovely jewellery.

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Stephen Fletcher Chair of the Service Users Council making a speech

Graham Creelman, non executive Director of the Trust making a speech.Stephen Fletcher Chair of the Service Users Council also made a speech.

Below is a slide show of more images.

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Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Ant Poster in the St. Stephens Underpass in Norwich

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not download or copy images or text. Screenshot – © Copyright 2013 Joe Black. All rights reserved.

Link to St. Stephens Paste Up Website to view images

One of the images detailed in this blog is by Photographer Joe Black, please click on links below to see more of his work. Joe Black Photographer Website  /  Joe Black Photographer Facebook Page

Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Poster in the Norwich Underpass

Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Poster in the Norwich Underpass

I was asked to be involved in an exciting project which has helped to transform St. Stephens Street underpass in Norwich, sparking discussion through paste up and street art. This has been a huge success and has helped to spark discussion about Mental Health as well as giving the gloomy underpass a makeover. This was organised by Community Service Volunteers and Time to Change. There were many artists who contributed to the work pasted up. For more images from Artists involved in the project please click on the link at the top of this blog. Laura Wigby who works at the BBC organised the project. I created a colourful poster of Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Ant to cheer the underpass up and hopefully people who walk past the poster. The Five Ways to Wellbeing can help everyone feel more positive about their lives and can help with mental wellbeing – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. For more information about the Five Ways to Wellbeing and Antony click on link below.

Five Ways to Wellbeing Website – New Economics Foundation

Antony the Five Ways to Wellbeing Ant

Image taken by Joe Black, Photographer of me pasting up my poster

© Copyright Joe Black. All rights reserved. Do not download or use this screenshot. Image taken by Joe Black, Photographer of me pasting up my poster

I really like this image taken by Joe Black, who is a photographer. © Copyright Joe Black. All rights reserved. This image is a screenshot from the following site where you can view more images by Joe Black. St. Stephens Paste Up Website to view images.  Joe Black is a talented photographer and you can view his website and facebook page by clicking on the following links:  Joe Black Photographer Website

Joe Black Photographer Facebook Page

He also put a lovely illustration up of a dragon, see below.

Joe Black, Photographers Illustration and poster

Joe Black, Photographers Illustration and poster. © Copyright Joe Black. All rights Reserved

Antony Poster in the Underpass

Antony Poster in the Underpass

One of the Artists involved with the project with her work.

Artist Nicola Simmonds showing her work.

Dyslexia Poster from one of the Artists

Dyslexia Poster created by Nicola Simmons. @ Copyright Nicola Simmons. All rights reserved

Poster

Dyslexic Poster Created by Nicola Simmons. © Copyright Nicola Simmons. All rights reserved

Nicola Simmons created this very clever poster about Dyslexia above. It would be interesting to do research into connections between Mental Health, Dyslexia and Creativity. I am Dyslexic and I was diagnosed quite late in life and always wondered why I found reading and retaining information so hard.

Article in the EEN and EDP

Artists involved in the project – Article in the EEN and EDP Newspaper

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Article in the EDP and EEN Newspaper of St Stephens Paste up

 Below Slideshow of images

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Oz Osborne New Production Manager for Yessica’s Journey

Oz Osborne Production Manager and Anastacia

Oz Osborne Production Manager and Anastacia

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images.

I am pleased to anounce that Oz Osborne who has worked with me from the start of the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project is the new Production Manager. Oz has helped and supported me all the way through this project and I am looking forward to continuing to work with him in the future. Oz works for Time to Change/Mind and is also a freelance Mental Health consultant and does a lot of work for the Human Library.

We will be meeting once a month to help keep the project on track.


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Suzie Hanna Joins the Yessicas Journey Project as Production Advisor

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved Please do not download or copy images and text

Suzie Hanna Production Advisor and Anastacia

Suzie Hanna Production Advisor and Anastacia

I am pleased to announce that Suzie Hanna is helping me on the Yessica’s Journey project as a Production Advisor. She is Professor in Animation Education, Senior Lecturer in Animation and Course Leader in MA Animation & Sound Design at the Norwich University of the Arts.

I have known Suzie for many years, since I was in my twenties. We worked together at the Norwich University of Arts, when I was a Digital Media Technician and Suzie was Course Leader on the BA Hons Animation Degree course. Later in 2006 she became my tutor when I decided to do a degree in Animation. She is an excellent teacher and I have learnt so much from her, so really pleased she is involved.

Her skills and knowledge in animation has been a huge help to me and she is kindly helping out on a voluntary basis. She has already been working with me on the script to help improve it especially in getting it to work better for the wider audience. We are also trying to cut it down as the animation is far too long. I have tended to try and put too much content into the script so it is time to let some of it go which is really hard but I know it will improve it.

Most of the time I have been unwell whilst working on it but now I am feeling much better I can finally let go. It will make the message of the film much stronger and also help people to understand and follow a storyline which will keep people interested in watching it.

Sometimes I just could not think straight and I would be constantly coming up with new ideas and changing my mind. I have tended to have so many ideas in my head which is great but you have to be able to focus which has been hard at times. When you find it hard to concentrate and lack motivation everything becomes a huge mountain to climb.

My perfectionism has sometimes contributed to huge delays in the project but at the same time it has helped drive a high standard in the overall quality of the animation. Life is not perfect and neither are we, to be content and just learn to simply ‘be’ is more important. To strive for perfection is striving for something which is impossible to reach. It can have its advantages as well as disadvantages much like Bipolar but if you can find a healthy balance then this can be key to improving your wellbeing . If we are never satisfied and we feel our best is never good enough it will only lead to worry and self doubt. I found this interesting quote from the artist Salvador Dali which sums it up.

‘Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it. ~Salvador Dali’

The script has constantly changed and developed since we first started it in 2010 so I am looking forward to finally finishing it. Animation is so time consuming and as I have lost so much time through being unwell it will help to make the project achievable. Suzie’s advice is invaluable and I can’t thank her enough.

Oz Osborne Production Manager and Suzie Hanna Production Advisor

Oz Osborne Production Manager and Suzie Hanna Production Advisor

Oz Osborne who is now the Production Manager meeting Suzie for the first time, see picture above. Oz has continued to work with me since 2010 and is also helping with the script development. His help has been invaluable and I am so pleased he is now the Production Manager. I really feel I have got a good team helping me and after my relapse last year I feel more confident is getting the animation finished.


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Meeting with David Neat about designs for Yessicas Head

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download text or images.

I went down to London to see David Neat who is making Yessica’s Heads to discuss my designs for the character. I spent quite a long time designing her heads and have redesigned her many times from my initial ideas. I think she has improved a lot and I am really pleased with the final designs.

David Neat in his studio in London

David Neat in his studio in London

David is the sculptor and modelmaker for Yessica’s Heads and is a professional highly experienced modelmaker. He made the set for the animation which looks amazing. He has never made a puppet head before so it was quite a challenge for him and I am so pleased he agreed to make her. He had started to make the sculpts which look brilliant and it was very exciting to see her coming to life. David is very talented and is a perfectionist which shows in all of his work, the attention to detail on the heads is amazing and I can’t thank him enough for his hard work.

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David working in his studio

Anastacia holding the sculpts of Yessica's heads which David has made, sorry not going to show you what they look like, you will have to wait and see

Anastacia holding the sculpts of Yessica’s heads which David has made, they looked like chocolate lolipops on sticks. Sorry can’t show you anything yet hence the blobs of white.

David holding Yessicas Head, sorry can't show you yet

David holding Yessicas Head, sorry can’t show you yet


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Mind Associates Xmas Party 2012

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Do not copy or download images.

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Roz Brooks Director of Nursing at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and her Husband – Mind Associates Christmas Party 2012

Last year I went to the Mind Associates Christmas Party which was really good. Colin Howey did a presentation showing various peoples photographic and film work.

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Colin Howey giving a presentation at the Mind Associates evening

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Band playing Music at the event.

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Oz Osborne talks about the Human Library at Chalk Circle Theatre Company Event

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Human Library Website
Chalk Circle Theatre Company Facebook
Oz Osborne setting up for the Human Library talk at Take Five

Oz Osborne setting up for the Human Library talk at Take Five

On the 30th October last year Oz Osborne who works for Time to Change gave a presentation about the Human Library at Take Five. Adina Levay and Suzanna Coppolina asked Oz to give a talk at their Chalk Circle event.

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Oz is very passionate about the Human Library and does many presentations and events all over the country to introduce the concept to the public. The human library is just like a book library but there is a difference, instead of the library loaning out books it loans out people. So you don’t borrow a book to read you borrow a person to read, through talking and listening to them. Just like you learn and develop knowledge through reading books, you can learn from interacting with people. Most people have some prejudices and typically stereotype people so by borrowing a book from the Human Library shelf on a choosen topic of interest, it may help you to open and change your mind, your attitude and views and help you to learn and gain new knowledge by asking people directly, listening and talking to them. By learning more about the person and their subject you can help to challenge stereotypes, stigma and discrimination and change attitudes in our culture. Book titles can be anything – Bipolar Disorder, Transgender, Learning Disability, Wheelchair user, Refugee and so on. It is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn about new subjects by asking people direct. Through conversation and interactivity learning becomes easier and interesting and is more likely to be remembered and has probably more of an effect on people. These are people who are talking about subjects, certain aspects of their lives that they have real lived experience from which is always more informative than many books.

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People at the event at Take Five

Don’t judge a book by its cover is just the same as saying don’t judge people by first impressions when you don’t know anything about them, don’t judge people because of their colour, sexuality, mental health, appearance and so on. Unfortunately, in our society today we all do it so this is a fantastic idea and opportunity to change perceptions and re-educate people.

Oz talking about the Human Library

Oz talking about the Human Library

Oz talking about the Human Library

Oz talking about the Human Library

The event was very successful and I really enjoyed it. I had never been to a human library event before and I found it really interesting. We were split into two groups and we had a chance to talk to a human book. I have been asked to be a book before but always said no as I felt too nervous to do it. I can see why it is so successful and I am sure the books on loan enjoy it as much as the borrowers, it is a great way to meet new people, change attitudes and gain new knowledge.

Some of the book people at the event

Some of the book people at the event

Adina Levay from Chalk Circle and her cool hat

Adina Levay from Chalk Circle and her cool hat

Suzanna Coppolina and Adina Levay

Suzanna Coppolina and Adina Levay

Below slideshow of pictures from event.

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Yessica’s Journey Presentation – Chalk Circle Theatre Company

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Chalk Circle Theatre Company Facebook
The British Association for the Person-Centred Approach
Kate Hayes Person-Centred Therapist
Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website
Norfok and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website
Five Ways to Wellbeing New Economics Foundation Website

Bit behind on my blogging…opps. Please take a look at Kate Hayes report about the event, at the end of this blog which is brilliant, thanks Kate for sending to me. On the 25th September 2012 last year I was thrilled to be asked to do a presentation about Yessica’s Journey and my art to a group of people invited through the Chalk Circle Theatre Company. The event was held in Norwich in the evening at Take Five and was a great success. The Chalk Circle held several events around the theme of mental health so I was so pleased that they asked me to be involved and for giving me the opportunity to show my artwork. Thank you to Suzanna Coppolina and Adina Levay for giving me the opportunity to show my work and for your kind invitation and support.

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Suzannah Coppolina Director Chalk Circle and Anastacia at Yessica’s Journey Presentation

Screenshot of Chalk Circle invite to the Yessica's Journey Event

Screenshot of Chalk Circle invite to the Yessica’s Journey Event

Quote from Suzannah Coppolina Director – ‘Chalk Circle is a newly established professional theatre company working in collaboration with local and international theatre practitioners. Our aim is to create contemporary, innovative, challenging and cutting-edge theatre in Norwich and the surrounding area. Last year we produced 4.48 Psychosis written by playwright Sarah Kane. Sarah Kane is one of the most powerful and controversial playwrights of our time and her plays have been widely performed in Europe and South America. We, at The Chalk Circle Theatre Company would like to support and raise awareness of mental health and aim to host panel discussions, rehearsed readings, art exhibits and workshops based around the subject matter within the play.’

Suzanna and Adina created a fantastic play which I went to see last year – 4.48 Psychosis written by Sarah Kane. Adina directed the play and Suzanna was the main actress in the play. They both created an outstanding play and I was hugely impressed with their talent and creativity.

I displayed some of my artwork from Yessica’s Journey on the wall and also some other artwork from the Five Ways to Wellbeing diary and the character Antony the ant. I also brought my stop motion puppet ‘Undine’ and various information about animation in general.

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Anastacias artwork on display

Tim Burton is my favourite director and has influenced and inspired me a great deal. I bought one of his books along for people to look at – a very creative person and hugely talented. I also displayed an armature for a stop motion puppet which is like a skeleton for the character which allows the character to move and be manipulated into different positions. I also took some flick books and my Zoetrope and Praxinoscope which is one of the early methods of creating animation using illusion and a revolving wheel. I used to use these when I taught animation. I thought it would be interesting to not only show my artwork but also incorporate a little bit of animation history.

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Anastacias artwork on display

The Praxinoscope has a circle of mirrors within its centre which reflect a strip of drawings located within the inner part of the spinning wheel. When the wheel spins at speed it gives the illusion of moving images. The images appear stationary whilst the wheel is turning. Each drawing shows a different movement and when run in order, in rapid succession one image after another and at speed they blend together to magically make the image appear to animate. This replaced the Zoetrope which was less effective as it only had narrow slits and no mirrors making the image hard to see. See image of Praxinoscope below.

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Praxinoscope with mirrors front left of picture

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My Apple Mac with artwork displayed and projector and speakers lent by Oz for the presentation

I took along my Apple Mac and had my artwork displayed on the projector screen changing every few seconds. Oz lent me his projector and speakers which was really useful. I also used this to show the showreel of my animation work which advertises the Yessica’s Journey project and my animation film ‘Undine’ which I completed for my degree which is around the same time that I became unwell so I felt it was relevant to the event.

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Oz Osborne talking about his involvement with Yessica’s Journey at the presentation

I invited Oz Osborne to be a guest speaker and also to introduce everyone who was talking at the event. Oz has been involved with the project from the beginning and has helped support me throughout. He has also helped with the writing of the script and is now the Production Manager for the project. He also works with the Human Library and Time to Change and is passionate about the Five Ways to Wellbeing which he also talked about.

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Anastacia talking at the presentation

I was really nervous about talking in front of everyone and especially about my work and my mental health difficulties. I had no idea what I was going to say but everyone said I did OK so I was really pleased. My presentation was around 45 mins I think and I showed the films and answered a few questions afterwards. I am pleased I did it as it gave me a lot of confidence which I have always struggled with.

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People at the presentaton. My friend Silvia came and the lady at the front is a Neurologist from New York who just happened to be in the pub.

There was a small group of people who came to attend the event so I was pleased. I met a Neurologist from New York and she was really interested in my art and creativity. Her partner and her just happened to be in the pub and wondered through and looked at my art and asked if they could attend which is lovely.

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Ruth Turner Psychologist from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust kindly asked Ruth Turner who is a psychologist to give a talk about the work of the Trust and Mental Health. I wanted to ask some of the organisations who were involved with supporting and funding the project and did not want the whole event to centre around my artwork as I thought this would make the event really interesting to people. Ruth was fantastic and everyone was really interested in what she was saying about the NHS. She explained information really clearly and she was asked many questions so clearly the audience had an interest which was nice to see.

It was really nice as I met up with Ruth at the Chalk Circle 4.48 Psychosis play several months later with some of her colleagues.

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Ruth Turner

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Kate Hayes person-centred therapist from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Kate Hayes is a person-centred therapist and a member of the co ordinating group for British Association for the Person-Centred Approach (BAPCA). She works for Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind. Thanks to Paola Colombo, Manager at Mind and Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive of Mind for asking Kate to give a talk at the event. Mind are one of the funders for the project and Peter is my mentor for the project. Please see the brilliant report at the end of this blog from Kate who wrote about the event which was published in the membership Journal for the British Association for The Person- Centred Approach

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Kate Hayes talking at the event

Kate gave a really interesting talk and like Ruth there were plenty of questions from the audience. She did a fantastic job and it was really interesting to have two speakers from different backgrounds talking about mental health. Below is a picture of Kate and her son with Paola Colombo.

It is really nice as I have remained in contact with Kate and we sometimes meet up for a chat. She is also an artist so we have a lot in common.

Thank you to Ruth and Kate for coming to the event and giving your time to talk about your work, I do appreciate it. Thank you also to Oz for all your help and for coming to the event to talk and help me set up – thanks for your encouragement.

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Paola Colombo, Mind Manager and Kate Hayes with her son at the event

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Paola Colombo and Oz Osborne at the event talking

Below is some more photos of the event.

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Article written by Kate Hayes, Person-Centred Therapist

© Copyright 2012 Kate Hayes. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

This Article was published in the membership Journal for the British Association for The Person- Centred Approach www.bapca.org.uk

Yessica’s Journey, Chalk Circle, Frank Bruno and the person-centred approach.

It’s been an interesting month.

I have been fortunate enough to be introduced to a radical new theatre company called Chalk Circle. The company have started rehearsals for a production of the Sara Kane Play 4.48 Psychosis. The play starts in Norwich on November 8th at The Garage. The company has links to Norwich Mind and as a result of a discussion with a colleague I was invited along to meet the actors as they wanted to ask me questions about therapeutic approaches to psychosis and suicide. It was a daunting task.

Sara Kane, the author of the play committed suicide after writing it and the actors were struggling with how to represent the author sensitively and accurately. My contribution was minimal but many questions, some I could answer and others I couldn’t, were put my way. What I could say was how historically ways of ‘treating’ and supporting people who were experiencing distress have been under developed as the medicalization of distress has been the norm. I was able to share that there are creative and empathic ways to be alongside people in distress that are beginning to become more visible in society and have been around for more than half a century and are present within the Person-Centred approach, the Soteria network and Positive Psychology.

Chalk Circle encourage other artists and subsequently I was invited to attend an evening introducing Anastacia Tohill’s animation’ Yessica’s Journey’. Anastacia experienced a ‘psychotic breakdown’ as she chooses to describe it, at the age of 41 when she was at Art School. She courageously continued with her final show work ‘Undine’. She explained how she discovered a new depth and level of creativity as she struggled through her harrowing experience. This prompted her to make a film all about her experience; the project is named ‘Yessica’s Journey’. It is anticipated to be ready in three years and is going to be part of an awareness raising campaign around Mental Health Difficulties, Psychosis and Wellbeing – helping people to understand as well as challenge the stigma and discrimination associated with it.  On September 24th at take 5 in Norwich she exhibited some of the drawings and designs for the animation. Anastacia invited myself, a clinical psychologist Ruth Turner and Oz Osborne from Stuff Stigma, The Human Library and Time to Change to talk about approaches to psychosis and mental health. I called my talk ‘Psychosis A natural reaction to a distressing world?’.

I had not shared a platform with a Norfolk clinical psychologist before and as I was being introduced by Oz who was talking intensely to her in a corner, I thought I’d best speak with him before the evening started. As I approached I was interested to hear Ruth explaining to Oz how the only way of contacting people in distress is not through CBT but through listening to them and validating their experience. ..and then they calm down. On further discussion she explained she had studied Stephen Joseph and Gillian Proctors work for a dissertation she’d written about positive psychological attitudes to carers for dementia. She knew about post traumatic growth and fully accepted that rather than trying to persuade people to think differently, if you accept ‘where they are’ they can move towards growth. I appreciate this is not news to us, but for me this was an exciting dialogue as my local trust has been traditionally disinterested in the person-centred approach and now it seemed a  chink of light is opening up.

Anastacia’s brief animation Undine, made during her breakdown, was a remarkable film. The film is set in a farmyard  as a young woman‘s head opens the sequence in stark relief as a pair of scissors cuts her long hair and sobbing and the slicing scissors punctuate the image. The woman progresses through a journey moving through darkness to light in a beautifully illustrated and coloured animation. The film held a depth of sadness and distress but it was also surrounded by beauty and hope. Anastacia’s vision has developed throughout her process of growth and after 4 years of determination she has attracted the level of funding she felt she needed to create the work ‘Yessica’s Journey’. She managed to get some talking therapy recently which she feels is part of the key to her ongoing growth process. This is being provided by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and is incredibly hard to access. The people I see through the NHS are not under the mental health team and traditionally the only interventions offered are CBT and medication.

The evening was packed with interesting talks. I have already written about the Human Library in a previous PCQ. Oz is the person who brought it to the UK from Denmark. It originated from a music festival where there were so many different gangs and tribes in attendance they evolved this idea of a person being ‘a book’ that can be borrowed and listened to in order to effect mediation between differences. The project has grown and tours the country breaking down prejudice and stigma.

Ruth Turner spoke mainly about the early intervention service that works with young people who have had a first psychotic episode. They have three years of access to the team and services include taking them to University by taxi in order to attend lectures. It’s clearly a service that struggles with ethical dilemmas and also does not seem to have a counselling facility in built. Ruth seemed frustrated by forms and inconsistencies in the service and was not afraid to say that the system often makes people worse.

I was next and I acknowledged and responded to Anastacia’s film. At events such as these it’s easy for moments to ‘get lost’ and I wished to bring the focus back to the remarkable work we had seen an hour before. I shared my strong sense that the film and her process felt like a beautiful demonstration of the actualising tendency coming through her distress. She is achieving exactly what she wishes to achieve and as a result will impact on other people’s lives.  She beamed brilliantly back at me. I shared how it had made me think about the creative aspects of the person- centred approach and how Carl Rogers’ daughter Natalie had developed her own expressive arts therapy called the ‘creative connection’ and that this had evolved as a therapeutic approach in itself. I mentioned I had run certificates at the UEA on ‘contacting the creative self’ and this aspect of nurturing growth is recognised and supported by person-centred practitioners. I explained some of the theory around the approach, the importance and valuing of coming alongside a person, of listening to them, acknowledging their experience as valid for them and offering warmth and acceptance. I explained how in 1996 I had tried to offer counselling at a local support centre for people who had experienced severe breakdowns, called Bridges  as I felt strongly then that people who had gone through breakdowns or severe mental and emotional distress would benefit from person-centred processes. But there was no funding and the concern was that so many people would want it there would not be enough therapists to offer it.

Right up to the present day this valuable resource has not been introduced in to the mental health trust and their focus on medication and CBT remains intact. I introduced the philosophy around the Soteria network and Soteria houses. I also referred to the work of Dion Van Verde and the wards he runs in Belgium based on the Pre Therapy approach developed by Prouty and its growing influence in the UK. The multi-cultural audience was of a broad age ranging from seven to early seventies. I nicked (but attributed) Richard Bentalls phrases ‘social inequality drives people crazy, racial discrimination drives people crazy, Cities drive people crazy, Gay bi and transgender discrimination drives people crazy. My talk was more a dialogue and people were clearly keen to speak out about the medicalization of distress and appreciated the view that often natural responses were turned into and identified as illness. I also spoke about BAPCA, how it is open to a broad range of practitioners who are involved with or interested in the person-centred approach, the practitioner research network and our intention to gather evidence. I mentioned Frank Bruno’s visit to a charity event for Norwich and Norfolk Central Mind and how he expressed very strong feeling about the focus on medication and how there was a need for alternative therapies to be used.  I referred to Ben Goldacre’s article in the Guardian that had been published that weekend about the drug industry and mentioned Robert Whitaker’s books.

At the end I shared this quote from Carl Rogers ‘the curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change’.

This was well received and I hope that those who were at the talk will now naturally consider the person-centred approach as a way of being that is accessible to all. I also posed the idea that we are still evolving emotionally and that was welcomed by many within the group.

My son Jo who had come to support me reassured me I had done a good job and at the end said to me ‘The solutions to mental health drives people crazy’.

Here’s hoping that state of affairs may soon change.

Quote from Anastacia, the artist: –  ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and feel it has helped me a great deal with my confidence, something which is very important in helping people with mental health difficulties. I would like to thank Suzanna Coppolina Company Director and Adina Levay Artistic Director for giving me the opportunity to share and talk about my work at the ‘Chalk Circle’ event. I would also like to thank Oz Osborne who gave a talk about his role on the project and his work with Time to Change, Rethink and the Human Library. Kate Hayes, Accredited Therapist and Ruth Turner, NHS Psychologist for giving up their time to talk at the event. I thought all the talks were so interesting and informative and clearly by the reaction of the people asking questions there was a great deal of interest which was lovely to see. It was clear to see how passionate people are about their work. Thank you also to Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the NHS Trust, Peter Gianfrancesco Chief Executive of Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and Paola Colombo Mind Inclusion Manager for your support.’

‘Yessica’s Journey’ is an animation project about my journey through mental health difficulties and how I learned and developed a healing process to improve my wellbeing. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2015 and incorporates Stop Motion and 2D animation. The film is funded by, The Wellcome Trust, Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and has also been supported by Rethink and the Bipolar Disorder Research Network. The film incorporates the New Economics Foundation Five Ways to Wellbeing – Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning, and Give. It is hoped that by showing a small glimpse of someone’s lived experience that it will help to educate and enhance people’s understanding, give people hope, and help to end and challenge the stigma and discrimination associated with it. It is also hoped that it highlights the importance of improving your wellbeing and encourages creativity in people, something which is very important. As a Freelance Artist I specialise in Animation and Illustration. I use mixed media styles, combining traditional with digital methods to create unique and meaningful art.’ For further information please see website links. Yessica’s Journey Website: http://www.yessicasjourney.com http://yessicasjourney.wordpress.com/ | Anastacia’s Website: http://www.anastaciatohill.co.uk

Kate Hayes Mbacp (acc) http://www.counselling-and-psychotherapy.org/


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Frank Bruno at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Smile Ball Dunston Hall

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website
On Saturday 22nd September Norwich and Central Norfolk held a Ball at the De Vere Dunston Hall Hotel to raise awareness about mental health difficulties and raise funds. Frank Bruno who has Bipolar came to support the event by posing for photos and giving an interview on stage with Trisha Goddard who is a patron of Mind. The evening was a great success and the charity raised a good amount of funding from the event.
Frank Bruno and all the volunteers at the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Smile Ball at Dunston Hall

Frank Bruno and all the volunteers at the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Smile Ball at Dunston Hall

I asked if we could have a photo with Frank Bruno with the volunteers. We volunteered on the night to help welcome guests as they arrived to the event and sell raffle tickets to raise money. We all had lovely blue t-shirts for the event. We also had a fantastic meal.

Anastacia and Frank Bruno at the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Ball

Frank Bruno and Anastacia at the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Smile Ball

I had several photos taken with Frank, he is a lovely warm person, really friendly and has a great sense of humor, he really made me laugh and I am pleased I had the opportunity to meet him.

The Smile Ball Marquee before the guests arrive

The Smile Ball Marquee before the guests arrive

This is a picture of the event before the guests arrived. The event was held in a marquee in the Dunston Hall grounds. It looked great. We also had a stand with Mind information.

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This is Paola the Inclusion Manager, myself and one of the volunteers at the event having a good time.

Trisha Goddard interviewing Frank Bruno at the Ball

Trisha Goddard interviewing Frank Bruno at the Ball

Trisha Goddard interviewing Frank Bruno on stage. The interview was really good and Frank talked about his mental health difficulties and answered questions from Trisha and the guests. He had everyone laughing, his humor is brilliant and to make people smile is a great gift.

Trisha Goddard interviewing Frank Bruno at the Ball

Trisha Goddard interviewing Frank Bruno at the Ball

Trisha Goddard interviewing Frank Bruno at the Ball

Trisha Goddard interviewing Frank Bruno at the Ball

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Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind giving a speech at the Smile Ball

Peter Gianfrancesco who is the Chief Executive of Norwich Mind also gave a speech at the event and was pleased the event was a great success.

Guests at the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Ball

Guests at the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Ball

Guests at the Event

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We had to leave the event early but I had a great time and really enjoyed it. Later on there was music and dancing and a singer Dominic Uppiah.

Frank Bruno and Anastacia at the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Smile Ball

Frank Bruno and Anastacia at the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Smile Ball

Frank and me having a laugh. I was not even ready for this photo, the photographer just took it as we were laughing so much. My arm looks like a matchstick compared to Franks hand, he is a big friendly guy. Below some more pictures I took.

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4.48 Psychosis Sarah Kane Performance by Chalk Circle Theatre Company 8th-10th November

Link to Chalk Circle Theatre Company Facebook Page

4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane is a play being performed by the Chalk Circle Theatre Company at the Garage in Norwich from the 8th -10th November at 7.30pm. You can get tickets from the Theatre Royal for £10 and there are concessions.  For further information about the play please see poster below. To find out more about the Chalk Circle Theatre Company please click on the link above to their Facebook page.

4.48 Psychosis Sarah Kane Chalk Circle Theatre Company Poster

Quote from Poster ‘A poetic exploration of love and death and what happens to a person’s mind when the barriers which distinguish between reality and different forms of imagination completely disappear’.

Poster Information from 4.48 Psychosis Chalk Circle Theatre Company

Quote from Suzannah Coppolina Director
‘Chalk Circle is a newly established professional theatre company working in collaboration with local and international theatre practitioners. Our aim is to create contemporary, innovative, challenging and cutting-edge theatre in Norwich and the surrounding area. This year we will be producing 4.48 Psychosis written by playwright Sarah Kane. Sarah Kane is one of the most powerful and controversial playwrights of our time and her plays have been widely performed in Europe and South America. We, at The Chalk Circle Theatre Company would like to support and raise awareness of mental health and aim to host panel discussions, rehearsed readings, art exhibits and workshops based around the subject matter within the play.’

Suzanna Coppolina and Adina Levay Directors of Chalk Circle Theatre Company. Suzanna is an actress in the play and Adina is the Director.

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Copyright Suzanna Coppolina and Adina Levay Poster for 4.48 Psychosis.


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Festival of Cultures in Norwich at the Forum 2012

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Quote taken from Human Library Website.

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website
Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Inclusion Project
Norwich Mind YouTube
Festival of Cultures YouTube Video
Human Library Website
Time to Change Website

On the 16th September 2012 Norwich Festival of Cultures was held at the Forum for the first time. The Inclusion Project is to help and support Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in Norwich.

Dancers at the Festival of Cultures in Norwich

Dancers at the Festival of Cultures in Norwich

Dancers at the Festival

Dancers at the Festival

Dancers at the festival

Dancers at the festival

Amazing lady on stilts and two children

Amazing lady on stilts and two children

Showreel below of all the images I took at the festival inbetween volunteering.

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The festival is celebrated every year by Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Inclusion Project. The festival was hugely successful and included many people from different cultures. There was dancing, singing and music which was amazing. It was fantastic and so interesting to see the different cultures dancing in their beautiful costumes.

Dancing at the Festival

Dancing at the Festival

Dancing at the Festival

Dancing at the Festival

Dancers at the Festival

Dancers at the Festival

Dancer at the Festival of Cultures

Dancer at the Festival of Cultures

Singing at the Festival

Singing at the Festival

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind was there to do an opening speech.

Peter Gianfrancesco Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Peter Gianfrancesco Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Peter Gianfrancesco on the stage

Peter Gianfrancesco on the stage

Paola Colombo who is the Inclusion Manager at Mind did a fantastic job of organising the Festival.

Paola Columbo Inclusion Manager from Mind and a Mind Volunteer

Paola Colombo Inclusion Manager from Mind and a Mind Volunteer

The Time to Change Village Cinema also came to the event and I was a volunteer for the day. I helped put together a showreel for the event which included Time to Change footage and Inclusion Mind films. Time to Change is a campaign to help end and challenge mental health discrimination. Please see link at top of blog for link to website.

Time to Change Village Cinema

Time to Change Village Cinema

Stephen Fletcher Chair of the Service Users Council at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Anastacia and Ann outside the TTC Cinema Tent

Stephen Fletcher Chair of the Service Users Council at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Anastacia and Ann outside the TTC Cinema Tent

Oz Osborne in the Time to Change Village Cinema Tent

Oz Osborne in the Time to Change Village Cinema Tent

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and talked to many people about the Time to Change Campaign, Mental Health and Mind. I wore my Inclusion Mind T-Shirt and my Mind First Aider Associates Hat.

Anastacia and a friend from the Festival of Cultures

Anastacia and a friend from the Festival of Cultures

The Human Library also was at the festival and was located inside the Forum.

Quote from Human Library Website: (see top of blog for link to website)

‘The Human Library is an innovative method designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding. The main characteristics of the project are to be found in its simplicity and positive approach. Visitors to a Human Library are given the opportunity to speak informally with “people on loan”; this latter group being extremely varied in age, sex and cultural background. The Human Library enables groups to break stereotypes by challenging the most common prejudices in a positive and humorous manner. It is a concrete, easily transferable and affordable way of promoting tolerance and understanding.’

Oz Osborne and Nick from the Human Library

Oz Osborne and Nick from the Human Library

The Human Library

The Human Library

Oz Osborne and friends

Oz Osborne and friends

I really enjoyed the day and meeting so many interesting people and loved volunteering for Mind Inclusion and Time to Change.

Amrita who works for Mind at the LifeHelp stand

Amrita who works for Mind at the LifeHelp stand

Crowds at the Festival

Crowds at the Festival


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Fruits of the Mind Exhibition at the Forum in Norwich 2012

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

The Well Website – Norwich Based Art Group

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

The Fruits of the Mind Exhibition was held in Norwich over three days at the Forum. The exhibition is organised by ‘The Well’ in collaboration with the ‘Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’. It gives people with mental health difficulties an opportunity to exhibit and sell their work which is fantastic.

The Fruits of the Mind Exhibition showing artwork at the Forum

I went on Thursday 13th September for the opening  and exhibited two artworks. I exhibited a digital print called ‘Dragon Wing Faery’ which I created several years ago. I used mixed media styles with digital Photoshop and Coral Painter combining a collage of real leaves scanned in. I was thrilled to sell it to my friend Silvia and it is the first time I have ever sold anything in an exhibition which is great.

Anastacia’s Artwork – ‘Dragon Wing Faery’ Digital Print Sold at the exhibition

Anastacias Artwork exhibited at the Fruits of the Mind Exhibition with other Artists

I also exhibited an original painting called ‘The Joy of Life’ which I created for the exhibition. I used mixed media – Watercolour, Acrylic, Pencil and Pen with a splash of glitter. Unfortunately I did not sell this painting but it was great to be given the opportunity to display it and I got some very good feedback which was nice.

Anastacias original painting ‘The Joy of Life’ created using mixed media – watercolour, acrylic, pen and pencil and a splash of glitter

Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the Trust at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust opened the exhibition and gave an interesting talk about the importance of art with people who experience mental health difficulties, and the exhibition.

Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust opening the exhibition

Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust opening the exhibition

Thea and Sandy from ‘The Well’  both helped organise the exhibition with Rachael Kenyon from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Thea and Sandy from ‘The Well’ who helped to organise the Exhibition

Quote from The Well Website ‘The Well is a Norwich based art group for people living with mental distress. The Well formed in June 2006 to provide support and development for artists in Norfolk who experience mental distress. It is run by the artists for the artists and has a membership of around fourteen people.’

Thea and Sandy from ‘The Well’ who helped to organise the Exhibition

Below is a slideshow of all the images I took at the exhibition.

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The exhibition was hugely successful and 14 pieces of artwork were sold at the exhibition. The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust also had a stand at the Forum to support the exhibition. I really enjoyed exhibiting my work and seeing the amazing creative work from the other artists.


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Success for Time to Change Village at the Forum in Norwich on 1st September 2012

Time to Change Website Article about Event
© Dan LeBrun flickr Photos of Time to Change Norwich Village Event
© Edwards flickr Photos of Time to Change Norwich Village Event

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

Time to Change Village outside the Forum in Norwich

Anastacia at the Time to Change Village, TTC Co-ordinator

Showreel below of all the pictures I took at the Time to Change Village.

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The Time to Change Village visited Norwich on Saturday the 1st September outside the Forum in Norwich. The event was a huge success and it was estimated that over 2,000 people engaged in a conversation about Mental Health during the event. The Time to Change campaign is about challenging the stigma and discrimination associated with Mental Health through engagement and talking with the public. The event was organised by Oz Osborne and Sarah James who both work for Time to Change. I thought they both did a fantastic job in organising such a successful event. There is so much work which goes into organising these events which often go unnoticed, they both worked extremely hard.

Anastacia and Oz Osborne on the Village Green Bench outside the Time to Change Cinema

Paola Colombo Inclusion Manager from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind – TTC Volunteer Co-ordinator with her Son and Sarah James, one of the organisers who works for Time to Change

Quote from Oz Osborne ‘The Village is a ‘pop-up’ community engagement activity, which creates interactive spaces for volunteers with lived experience of mental health problems to engage with the public. Each of these ‘social contacts’ are designed to facilitate positive changes in attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental health problems.’
The village includes a Cinema showing Time to Change Films, a Post Office where you can post a postcard to a friend, a Tea Room where you can get free Teas and Coffees, a Surgery offering lots of information about Mental Health and organisations, a library – The Human Library where books are people and when you borrow a book to read, the book is a person who you have a conversation with. It also has a Village Green and Newsagent. There were many activities at the event where people could learn more about the Time to Change Campaign and interact and have conversations about Mental Health. These included Face Painting, Painting and Drawing, Singing/Musicians, Making a Bracelet, Plant Potting and Photo Pledging for Time to Change.

Rachel’s Friend painting a picture

People posing for Portrait Painting

Dressing up at the Time to Change Village

The Human Library where you can borrow a book to read – a book is a person who you can have a real conversation with and learn more about that subject from people with lived experience

The Village also had some Street Theatre from the Chalk Circle Theatre Company. Quote from Suzanna Coppolina Company Director ‘Chalk Circle is a newly established professional theatre company working in collaboration with local and international theatre practitioners. Our aim is to create contemporary, innovative, challenging and cutting-edge theatre in Norwich and the surrounding area. This year we will be producing 4.48 Psychosis written by playwright Sarah Kane. Sarah Kane is one of the most powerful and controversial playwrights of our time and her plays have been widely performed in Europe and South America. We, at The Chalk Circle Theatre Company would like to support and raise awareness of mental health and aim to host panel discussions, rehearsed readings, art exhibits and workshops based around the subject matter within the play.’

Suzanna Coppolina and Adina Levay, Directors, performing from the Chalk Circle Theatre Company

There were around 70 volunteers who helped at the event who were people with lived experience or carers. Time to Change also employed some co-ordinators for the event so I was thrilled to be asked to be a Time to Change Co-ordinator for the day. I would like to thank Time to Change for employing me which is very kind of them. Although I was nervous about taking on this role initially, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and although very tired by the end, I was so pleased I had been given such a fantastic opportunity. Volunteers  and co-ordinators were also offered training before the event which was very informative and helpful. Time to Change are very supportive and caring about the people who work with them and the volunteers. They made me feel so welcome and valued and that I was actually doing something positive to help challenge attitudes towards people who experience Mental Health difficulties. It really helped me with my confidence, it takes quite a lot of courage to go up to people and start a conversation but the more you do it the easier it gets and I met so many amazing and interesting people on the day.

Gemma Nicholls one of the Volunteer Co-ordinators  at the Time to Change Event outside the Post Office in the Time to Change Village

Maddie and Dandelion performing at the Time to Change Village Event

The Village had a Cinema where people could watch a showreel of different Time to Change films which I helped to produce and has been used all around the country, something I am very proud of.  I was asked to be the co-ordinator of this part of the Village and thoroughly enjoyed talking to people and encouraging them to watch the films in the cinema. I had some very interesting and emotional conversations during the day. The overwhelming favourite film was the speech bubble one about the bipolar date, people really liked this and they liked the humor. Several people who work in mental health and education even wanted a copy of the showreel.

Anastacia as a Time to Change Co-ordinator outside the entrance to the Village Cinema where a Time to Change Mental Health Showreel was playing

It was fantastic to see Maggie Wheeler who is the Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and the Chair of the Service Users Council Stephen Fletcher visit the Time to Change Village. I also saw many friends including my good friend Rachel who I have known for many years.

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Oz Osborne one of the organisers of the Time to Change Village

Stephen Fletcher, Chair of the Service Users Council at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Helen at the Time to Change Village event

Anastacia and my friend Rachel on the Village Green Bench outside the Time to Change Cinema

The day was a huge success and I can’t wait for the next Time to Change Event. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute, it was fantastic. I spoke to so many people, who were all very positive about the event and I talked non stop all day to the point that I ended up with a sore throat and was exhausted the next day. I had so many amazing and inspiring conversations with people, which at times made me feel quite emotional but also gave me an overwhelming feeling of inspiration and wanting to help and reassure people. It has made me realise just how much I love talking to people and helping them in a small way. It also gave me a much needed huge boost to my confidence. I met people who had their own mental health difficulties, people who knew nothing about mental health or TTC and I also met quite a few professionals who work in mental health. A nurse, someone who works on the Waveney ward at Hellesdon and a paramedic and someone who worked at Rethink. All the conversations I had were positive and obviously a few were emotional. Even people who did not have time to stop were courteous and very friendly and often would just take a postcard or leaflet from me.
I thought the Village and whole idea of interacting and engaging with the public is brilliant. All the activities, the singing, cinema, teas and coffees and volunteers were so effective. I also think that having it at the Forum worked really well. The steps provide a place for people to sit down and watch and also enabled me to go up to quite a few people to talk. The atmosphere was great, really buzzing and electric.
Thank you and well done to everyone involved in such a successful and rewarding day. And lastly a lovely picture of Sheila, Paola’s friends dog. Animals are part of Villages and dogs have mental health too and Sheila clearly enjoyed having her picture taken and visiting the Time to Change Village – good for her wellbeing.

Sheila enjoying the Time to Change Village Event


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Article about New Bipolar UK Self Help Group in Norwich for Mind Associates Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshot from Mind Associates Magazine Simon Barker. Quotes from Chris Stokes, Gemma Nicholls and Janet Conway

Bipolar UK Website

Norwich Bipolar UK Self Help Group Contact – norwich@bipolarukgroups.org.uk

Screenshot from the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Associates Magazine showing article about the new self help group which I organised

I was thrilled to be asked by Simon Barker to write an article for the Mind Associates Magazine about the new Bipolar UK Self Help Group in Norwich.  Simon is a Mind First Aid Manager and Mind Associate for the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind organisation. See screenshot above of final article which looks great.
I decided to ask the Facilitator of the group who first initiated the idea to have a group in Norwich to write the main piece for the article – Chris Stokes. I also asked Gemma Nicholls who is also helping to facilitate the group for a quote and Janet Conway who is the Group Development Officer at Bipolar UK.  I organised the article and was pleased to have it published in the magazine.
I am so pleased that a group like this has been set up in Norwich and it will help many people who have Bipolar as well as their families, friends and carers. I wish the group well and I know it will be a huge success. The turnout for the first meeting was well attended. Unfortunately I can’t attend the meetings but I have joined the mailing list which will keep me informed of what the group is doing. They intend getting interesting speakers at some of their group meetings and have invited Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the NHS Trust and Janet Conway from Bipolar UK to talk at the next meeting in October.
Below is the article I helped to organise which you can read more clearly for further information.

22/8/2012 Article for ‘Associates Magazine’ Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind 398 words

New Norwich Bipolar UK Self-Help Group

Bipolar UK Logo

First Meeting 6th September 6.30pm-8.30pm
Meetings:  First Thursday of each month
Quaker (Friends) Meeting House
Upper Goat Lane
Norwich NR2 1EW
For further information contact Chris Stokes and Gemma Nicholls at: norwich@bipolarukgroups.org.uk
Bipolar UK Website:  www.bipolaruk.org.uk

Chris Stokes: Group Facilitator

‘The Quaker (Friends) Meeting House is conveniently situated in the heart of the city and the room which we shall use for our meetings is comfortable and easily accessible on the ground floor.’

‘When I was diagnosed with bipolar last year after 30 years of misdiagnosis, what I really wanted most of all wasn’t to read books about bipolar or to look at websites about bipolar, but to meet somebody with bipolar and ask some questions. How would I cope? Is bipolar a death sentence? What are the medications like? But when I tried to find a bipolar group in Norwich, I realised there wasn’t one. That’s why I decided to start one. I believe that our new group, organised as part of the wonderful national charity Bipolar UK, will be a huge asset to Norwich and a lifeline for people with bipolar, their carers and their families.’

‘Anyone whose life is affected by bipolar is welcome at our meetings.  You can attend as many or as few meetings as you like, you’re free to leave whenever you want, and you don’t have to speak if you don’t feel like it, although everyone will have the opportunity to do so.’

Gemma Nicholls: Group Facilitator

‘The planning meeting held in July was well attended so this bodes well for the future of the group and shows just how important and needed a self help group is in Norwich. There was a lot of positive energy in the room to make this a success and the turnout suggests that the group will become invaluable for many people affected by bipolar. I look forward to the start.’

Janet Conway: Group Development Officer at Bipolar UK

‘We at Bipolar UK are delighted that a new self-help group for people affected by the bipolar condition is being launched in Norwich. As the only national charity dedicated to supporting people affected by bipolar, we rely a great deal on the willing volunteers who run our national network of self-help groups, and who do so much to raise awareness of the condition and to support people in their own communities.’


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Maggie Wheeler and Roz Brooks from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust are the New NHS Representatives for ‘Yessica’s Journey’

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Images taken by Diane Smith who works at the NHS.

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Trust from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia – Yessica’s Journey Meeting

I was thrilled to have a meeting with Maggie Wheeler, who is the Chair of the Trust and Roz Brooks who is the Director of Nursing, Patient Safety and Quality at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Hellesdon Hospital. After having to cancel many meetings I finally got to show them some of the development of the work for the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project. I showed them my portfolio of designs including some of the sound and models from the project. I really enjoyed showing them the work and they both seemed really interested in how the project was progressing. I am also pleased to announce that Maggie and Roz are now officially the NHS Representatives for the project which is amazing.

Quote from Maggie and Roz  “we are so pleased to be associated with this fantastic project. It will really help people understand mental ill health in an accessible way. We were fascinated to learn about how animated films are made, and the time and skill it takes. We are really looking forward to seeing the final result”

I would like to thank Maggie and Roz for their time and for giving me the opportunity to show them the development of  ‘Yessica’s Journey’. Also huge thanks for being my representatives, I really appreciate it. I would also like to thank Diane Smith who took these lovely pictures of Maggie and me, I really like them and she has done a fantastic job.

Maggie Wheeler Chair of the Trust from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Anastacia – Yessica’s Journey Meeting


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Time to Change Village Event comes to Norwich 1st September

Time to Change Village Event in Norwich

Time to Change Village Website Link

Time to Change Village Event in London with Village videos and pictures link

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshots from Time to Change Poster and images supplied by Oz Osborne

The time to Change Village Event is coming to Norwich on 1st September 2012 at the Forum in Norwich. It is a chance for people to learn about mental health, participate in activities and challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by people with Mental health difficulties. It is about changing preconceived perceptions. Everyone is welcome and it will be a fun day out. Here are a few images which Oz Osborne took at the last Time to Change Village Event.

Time to Change Village Cinema playing Showreel

Time to Change Village Event Human Library

Time to Change Village Event

Above are pictures of the success of the village including the Human Library where you can borrow people as books to find out about different subjects and challenge prejudice and preconceived ideas. Also picture of the Cinema Tent which I helped create the Showreel for.

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Time to Change Poster


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Time to Change Village Event comes to Norwich 1st September at the Forum

Time to Change Village Event in Norwich

Time to Change Village Website Link

Time to Change Village Event in London with Village videos and pictures link

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshots from Time to Change Poster and Website.

Time To Change Poster Advertising Norwich Event at the Forum

The Time to Change Village Event is coming to Norwich on the 1st September at the Forum. The event has been very successful and has been around the whole country. They are looking for volunteers so please contact Oz Osborne for further details about how you can get involved – see above poster. He is one of the people who helped to develop the idea. For more information about Time to Change and the Village events please click on links at the top of this article.

Quote taken from Time to Change Website
‘The Village is a pop-up interactive space that has all the things you might expect to find in villages and towns across the world: a health centre, library, café, post office, cinema and a news agent. But there’s a twist –each part of the village provides a unique opportunity to engage the public in conversation about mental health.
When people meet our volunteers for a chat at the Time to Change Village, they will find out more about mental health. This helps to challenge prejudices and stereotypes which often lead to discrimination.
Time to Change held the first Village event in London on 31 March 2012.

Screenshot of image taken from Time to Change website of Village Event

I am thrilled to have been asked to be one of the ‘Volunteer Coordinator’s’ for the event which is a paid role. It is lovely to be asked to take on such a responsible role. I am very excited but also a bit nervous as I have never done this before and lack a bit of much-needed confidence. We will be getting training soon which is great.

I have volunteered with Time to Change for several years now and have really enjoyed it. It has helped me a lot with my own Mental Health and Wellbeing and to talk openly and not feel embarrassed or ashamed. I am glad I did not keep my own Mental Health difficulties a secret which I did for several years. For me it has been much better to be honest and not hide something like this which can become a burden and can be distressing. It has been very beneficial for my own wellbeing and has helped me as well as others to understand Mental Health. I am glad that I can openly talk about it now and feel proud. It has been a long and difficult journey and it has not been easy for me to open up to people and talk about something so personal – but the rewards have been huge.

I am thrilled that the showreel which I helped to produce for the Cinema part of the Village has now been showed around the whole country to help challenge the stigma and discrimination of mental health. The showreel includes many videos which is informative about Mental Health and helps to challenge people’s perceptions and understanding. I am very proud to have been involved in this in a small way and so glad I have been able to do something useful and have been given this fantastic opportunity. Time to Change are great communicators and have involved me in so many ways, they make you feel valued and that you are doing something useful and I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities I have been given – thank you.

Please come along to the event and spread the word as it is important to advertise this event. It is the first time it will have come to Norwich. I have informed people I know including Mind and the NHS so please pass this information on to anyone you know and display the poster.

If  you are interested in volunteering it is a great way to help yourself as well as others and help to educate the public to understand Mental Health and change perceptions. Come along to the event, it will be interesting, informative and enjoyable – a fun day out and everyone is welcome.


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Festival of Cultures, Mind Inclusion, 16th September

Norwich Mind Inclusion Project Website

Norwich Mind Festival of Cultures

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshot from Festival of Cultures Poster Norwich Mind Inclusion and information from Paola Colombo.

Festival of Cultures Poster

Norwich Mind Inclusion Project is for people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in Norwich? It offers support for people from BME communities who live in Norwich.

The Festival of Cultures is being held for the first time at the Norwich Forum on the 16th of September and is part of the Inclusion Project. Please come along for a fun day out. I was thrilled to be asked to be a volunteer as an artistic director looking after the Cinema tent which will be showing a showreel of Time to Change videos about mental health and wellbeing and Mind Inclusion work.

Quote and information from Paola Colombo, Inclusion Manager at Norwich Mind Inclusion‘Each year the Festival of Culture provides a focus through which Norwich Mind actively promotes, challenges and develops an understanding of multiculturalism, equality, and diversity in our fine city.

The 2012 Festival of Cultures celebrates the fabulous diversity of arts and histories in our city with performances from around the world and activities for anyone to join in.  And it’s FREE.

  • Have a go at Bollywood style dancing
  • Sing along with artist from all over the world
  • Be moved by stories of people who have decided to make Norwich their home
  • See preconceptions challenged by the Human Library

Here are some of the day’s highlights
On the stage

  • Norwich Malayalees – Traditional dance from South India
  • Filippo the Miserable Man – Reggae
  • Cece Dube – Zimbabwean singer-song writer
  • Rai and Jagga – Nubian world music
  • Zumba – Dance fitness programme originating from Colombia
  • Traditional Russian Repka dance and choir
  • Kelly Kanayama – Pacific Rim story-telling
  • Bollywood Sparkles – Bollywood-style dance
  • Capoeira – Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance and music
  • Leontine Mujinga – Congolese a capella singing
  • Egyptian Dancing with Lorraine
  • Anna Mudeka – Zimbabwean Singer and Dancer
  • Cultural Village: meet people from countries all over the world who have decided tp make Norwich their home and learn about their various cultures
  • Norwich Mind’s Tigers Football Club Corner (raffle, face painting for children, information service)
  • Human Library

Workshops

  • Theatre
  • Egyptian Dancing
  • Art – Making world bunting
Complementary therapies
  • Indian head and back massage
  • Egyptian Massage
  • Aromatherapy

 For info please contact Paola on  01603 433268 ext 3 option Inclusion Manager’


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Chalk Circle Theatre Company

Suzanna Coppolina Company Director and Adina Levay Artistic Director at the Take Five Event

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

I was invited to a really good event at ‘Take Five’ in Norwich with the ‘Chalk Circle Theatre Company’. Concentric Circles hosted an art exhibition and talk based upon the subject matter within a play called 4.48 Psychosis written by playwright Sarah Kane. There was also exhibits of art on display which showed how people can explore their mental health difficulties through art. Suzanna Coppolina, Company Director and Adina Levay Artistic Director organised the event and had a guest speaker from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Robert Black, who talked about Mental Health and Psychosis. I really enjoyed the event and the Theatre Company have also asked me to do a talk on my project ‘Yessica’s Journey’ soon, so I am thrilled.

Robert Black from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Quote from Suzanna Coppolina, Company Director of Chalk Circle

‘Chalk Circle is a newly established professional theatre company working in collaboration with local and international theatre practitioners.  Our aim is to create contemporary, innovative, challenging and cutting-edge theatre in Norwich and the surrounding area.

This year we will be producing 4.48 Psychosis written by playwright Sarah Kane. Sarah Kane is one of the most powerful and controversial playwrights of our time and her plays have been widely performed in Europe and South America. 4.48 Psychosis was Sarah Kane’s last play. It is a poetic exploration into the struggles of mental health, dealing with sensitive issues such as depression, anxiety and suicide. Sarah Kane herself suffered of bipolar and sadly, aged 28 took her own life.

We, at The Chalk Circle Theatre Company would like to support and raise awareness of mental health and aim to host panel discussions, rehearsed readings, art exhibits and workshops based around the subject matter within the play. Beyond the traditional means of publicity/marketing such as posters, leaflets, magazines and radio sound bites, Chalk Circle plans to use alternative forms such as street performance, happenings, open forums and events. Chalk Circle would also like to establish ongoing input for this project, offering a professional the chance to help shape this exciting production. This professional would take part in the rehearsal process helping the performers to achieve a higher understanding of the process of mental health, giving the play and the subject matter the integrity it deserves.

Suzanna and Adina


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Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind ‘LifeHelp’ launch in Mind Associates Magazine

Norfolk and Central Norfolk Mind Website

Download Mind Associates Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Screenshots taken From Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind website and Mind Associates Magazine.

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind LifeHelp Logo

Screenshot from the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Associates Magazine taken by Peter Gianfrancesco of LifeHelp Launch

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind have launched a new LifeHelp service to help people who have Mental Health Difficulties. It is also for everyone who would like to improve their wellbeing. Above is a screenshot of a photograph which Peter Gianfrancesco took at the event of the Mind Associates. Trisha Goddard also attended the event and gave a great talk which was really inspirational. For further information please click on the above Mind Link to their website and see my earlier blog link on the launch.

The picture above was taken from the Mind Associates Magazine which is a regular magazine of informative information about Mind, Mental Health, Wellbeing and events which are taking place. Please click on the link at the top of this article to download the latest magazine PDF.

Screenshot of Mind Associates Magazine


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Fruits of the Mind Exhibition 13th-15th September

Fruits of the Mind Exhibition Information

The Well Website

Blog Article on Fruits of the Mind Exhibition Last Year

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshot from poster supplied by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust Fruits of the Mind Exhibition Poster

The fruits of the Mind Exhibition is being held on the 13th-15th September 2012 at the Forum in Norwich. It is an opportunity for local artists who have mental health difficulties to exhibit and sell their work. It is run by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with The Well which is a Norwich based art group for people who have experienced mental health difficulties. Maggie Wheeler the Trusts Chair is opening the Exhibition at 1pm on Thursday 13th September.
For more information and how to apply please click on the above links. On the NHS Fruits of the Mind Exhibition website I noticed a picture of Helen Simpson who works for the NHS and organised the exhibition last year and myself (scroll down). You can see my artwork in the background – green image. I had no idea it was there so it was a nice surprise.
I exhibited 2 pieces of my work last year which was great. I am exhibiting hopefully again this year with two images, ‘Dragon Fly Faery’ and ‘The Joy of Life’. This exhibition gives people a fantastic opportunity to show their creative skills and is well worth a visit.

Helen Simpson from NHS and Anastacia at Fruits of Mind Exhibition Last Year on the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

Fruits of Mind Website on Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust Website

Fruits of Mind Website on Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust Website


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Take a Wellbeing Walk – Five Ways to Wellbeing

 

Five Ways to Wellbeing Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

The ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ has been proven through research to benefit everyone’s mental wellbeing (developed by New Economics Foundation, nef). Please click on link above for more information.

By taking a walk we can cover all of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and improve our thinking in a positive way to help ourselves as well as others. It is very beneficial and this is just one way of using the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Oz Osborne on Wellbeing Walk

  1. Be Active – Walking is being active, is helps your physical and mental wellbeing and makes you feel good. Walking has been proven to help keep our minds active and improve our physical fitness. It gives us time out of the house and gives precious and much-needed time to ourselves which is extremely important.
  2. Take Notice – Whilst taking a walk you will notice many interesting things along your journey which will be different each time you take a walk, the wonder and excitement of what you will discover – the beauty and amazement of  nature, animals, people, colour, texture, smells and sounds. The warmth of the sunshine on your face, the cool breeze against your face, the rustle of the trees and dancing wisps of grass, the beauty of dewdrops on a spider’s web, the beauty of flowers in bloom. The discovery of new things you have never seen before.
  3. Connect – Whilst walking you may come in contact with other people and have a chat, you may go with a friend, family or take a pet for a walk. Walking can help you connect with others around you. Connect with nature and your environment. Time to connect to your inner self.
  4. Keep Learning – Whilst walking with a friend or meeting others you may learn more about that person, increase your knowledge through discussion, talking and listening. It may give you time to think about things more clearly, feel less stressed and give you a break. You may learn more about nature and see things of interest, discover new things. You take in new sights, new smells, new sounds. You may decide to go for a walk to an interesting place you have never been to before to learn and increase your knowledge, you may take a book and have time to read in a beautiful and relaxing environment. It may even give you creative ideas, time to think, time to discover and develop.
  5. Give- If you invite a friend or family member you are giving your time to help someone else, improve their wellbeing as well as your own. You may give the other person new knowledge and understanding through talking and listening. You can thank someone which is a huge boost to someone’s wellbeing. You can laugh and smile and have fun – a massive help to feeling good about yourself and helping the other person. If you take your dog for a walk for instance you are giving time and enjoyment to your pet as well as yourself. Interaction and connecting with others is giving. It is important to also give to your own wellbeing as well as others. You can take a walk on your own, you are still giving, you are giving time to yourself and helping yourself relax, take a break and enjoy time out from the hectic and stressful lives that many of us now live in an ever-increasing stressful society.Oz Osborne and myself went on a wellbeing walk through my local area. It is a beautiful walk through fields and woods and we really enjoyed the walk.

Anastacia on Wellbeing Walk

 


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New Bipolar Uk Self Help Group in Norwich

Bipolar Uk Website Self Help Groups

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshots from Bipolar UK Website.

Bipolar Uk Logo

Great News – a new Bipolar Uk self-help group is being set up in Norwich. The first meeting is on Thursday 6th September 2012 and then every first Thursday in the month. It starts at 6.30pm-8.30pm. Venue is the Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich.
The lady from Bipolar Uk rang me as I could not attend and said it was one of the biggest amount of people she had seen attend the event – over twenty people.  Chris came up with the idea and is running the group with Gemma. I received a letter from Bipolar UK inviting me to the event but could not attend. I sent it out to the NHS and Mind so hopefully lots of people were informed. I wish the group well and hope it will benefit many people.

Map from Bipolar UK website with details of Norwich Group


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Helping others through Time to Change and my Blogsite

Time to Change Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I was thrilled to be asked by Time to Change to give some advice to a student who is doing an animation on depression. I really enjoyed helping her and I hope I gave her some useful information about how to get funding for her project and general advice about her script which I was pleased to read. I also gave some advice on managing anxiety so I really hope I helped her as I am certainly no expert. It was great to be put in contact with her through Time to Change and she is such a talented person and I wish her well with her project. That is what it is all about, helping others, and passing on your knowledge, that is what I love doing and that is what is important to me. Time to Change is a great organisation and really understand how to engage with the public and people with mental health difficulties and most importantly try to change attitudes of the public, misconceptions and fight discrimination and stigma.
I have also been contacted by people through my blog site which is great. Mainly to do with advice about animation and armatures. I was also recently able to help someone from the article I posted about the New Bipolar Group which is being set up in Norwich. They are new to Norwich and wanted to know what they could get involved in so I was happy to help. The web is such a powerful tool to reach out to others to help and pass on knowledge and learn.


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The Happy Pill which won’t make you gain weight

Article from the Mirror Newspaper

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Mirror Newspaper

I found this article in the Mirror newspaper and thought it was interesting. It is about how some Bipolar Disorder Antidepressants can make you gain weight. This new pill claims to half the weight gained. It is not available yet through the NHS as they are still researching it. I think it is great that they are doing research into medication which may reduce the side effects of weight gain. Anti-psychotic drugs like Olanzapine can make some people gain weight. I think people with mental health difficulties have enough problems without losing their identity and from many of the other side effects of drugs. I gained over 2 stone and when I looked in the mirror I just did not recognise myself anymore or indeed did anyone else. This can have quite an adverse effect on your wellbeing and confidence, to lose your identity is distressing. I am pleased to say I have now lost around 2 stone since last May and can finally look in the mirror and recognise myself. I am on medication but not on the ones which make you gain weight. Having said that I would not be here if it wasn’t for Olanzapine which got me through my degree and many difficult times. I hope this new drug is effective and also does not have any other bad side effects. I think research is extremely important in improving medication and ways of developing new methods to help people.


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Time to Change Mental Health at Work Article

Time to Change Website Article

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

I found this article on the Time to Change website really interesting and encouraging. It is about how having a mental health difficulty does not necessarily have to stop some people from working with support and the right job. I have found volunteer work very important is gaining confidence and getting me back to work in the past. I have always enjoyed working although I now find I can’t do some of the things I used to do due to having Bipolar. It is about pacing yourself, avoiding stress where possible and finding the right job which suits you. Something which gives you confidence, motivation and something which you enjoy doing. Something which helps to build your  self-esteem and taking that first small step which is so hard to do. Knowing your limits and getting support and positive encouragement. Good feedback is essential from employers and an understanding of Mental Health is essential. I have found it hard to work since 2008 and at times have had to give up many jobs due to Bipolar which is so frustrating.  However I am a fighter and a strong person and after recently having a relapse hope to get back to work as soon as I am able. You have to learn to accept you can’t perhaps do the things you used to do and adapt.  Medication also effects you a great deal and your capabilities. Work gives you something to focus on and a chance not only to help yourself lead a more fulfilling life but also to help others and society. Work is good for your wellbeing, whether it is paid or voluntary, as long as it is something you enjoy doing and does not cause you stress. It is important for employers to develop an understanding of Mental Health in the workplace and hopefully through organisations like Time to Change the stigma and discrimination associated with it will help many people with mental health difficulties get back to work if they want to and are capable of doing so.


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Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind launch new service ‘LifeHelp’

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind – screenshots and scans of articles from Eastern Evening News and Easter Daily Press. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Quote from Peter Gianfrancesco in the EDP/EEN

I was invited to the Norwich Mind launch of their new service called ‘LifeHelp’ which is to help people including people with mental health difficulties and includes a range of services for people with personal budgets. The event was held in Norwich at the Open Banking Hall. It was also to celebrate the MFA – Mind First Aiders and Associates.

Article in Newspaper with MFA and Trisha Goddard

It was a very successful event and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The new service is very impressive and the presentations were professional and interesting. I really like the design and logo of the presentation folder and we also got an MFA hat to wear, which is something we can wear in our own communities to let people know we are a Mind First Aider and can help others. I knew quite a few people there so it was great to see them and have a good chat. We also got our picture taken for the EDP and EEN which was great.

Article in Newspaper of MFA at event – Oz, Colin and me in the background, Trisha Goddard at the front

Peter Gianfrancesco who is the CEO at Mind presented the service and his wife Trisha Goddard who is a patron at mind also gave a presentation. I found her speech really moving. They also had people with lived experience talking about how being an MFA has benefited them and helped others.

Article in Newspaper to launch Life Help Service

I was really impressed with the whole event and look forward to seeing how it develops. I am an MFA and trained at Mind for adults and I have also done voluntary work with Mind Inclusion for several years. I am also a MFA for young adults and did a separate course with another organisation. I would highly recommend the course at Mind, you learn so much and it really can help not only yourself but how you can help others.

If you are interested in becoming a Mind First Aider and Associate please visit their website at the top of this article. Below is a screenshot from their Associate magazine and includes very informative information.

The associates magazine


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‘Yessica’s Journey’ article published on Time to Change website

Anastacia’s ‘Yessica’s Journey’ article on Time to Change Website

Published on Time to Change website – Become a Champion

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Screenshot of ‘Yessica’s Journey’ article on Time to Change website

I was thrilled to have an article about ‘Yessica’s Journey’ published on the Time to Change website. If you are a Champion and are involved in work which is raising awareness about mental health and challenges stigma and discrimination you can promote your work on their website. I contacted them and they said yes so I was really pleased.

I think this is such a good idea and encourages people to share with others what they are doing to help Mental Health. It gives people a fantastic opportunity to promote their work, their passion, their creativity and innovative ideas, whatever that may be. There are so many people out there actively doing good work and this is a great platform for them to share with others and hopefully will help people to get more involved, encourage creativity, and develop new innovative ideas to raise awareness about Mental Health. It is a great way to help others as well as helping yourself and gives you confidence, new interests and skills which I think are very important for your mental health and wellbeing.

I would like to thank Terese Jonsson and Time to Change for giving me this fantastic opportunity, I really appreciate it.

Screenshot of ‘Yessica’s Journey’ article on Time to Change website

Text Quote below taken from the Time to Change Website
© Copyright 2012 Time to Change. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.
‘Time to Change Champions are people with lived experience of mental health problems who campaign to end mental health discrimination in their communities. They raise awareness by speaking out about their experiences, through events and anti-stigma projects. The Champions network offers opportunities for people who would like to increase their skills and confidence whilst being involved in different aspects of our work.’


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Time to Change East of England Networking Event

Time to Change Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I attended a Time to Change event at the King’s Centre in Norwich. It was a chance for like-minded people to get together and share and develop ideas about what the Eastern region can do to help with the Time to Change campaign in Norwich to challenge stigma and discrimination associated with Mental Health. The event was organised by Sarah James who is the consultant/trainer for our area. The event was very successful and everyone came up with some really good creative ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed it, knew quite a few people there so it was nice to have a chat and meet new people. I am a Time to Change Champion which is how I got invited to the event and if anyone is interested in joining please go to the website link above for more information.
I met Sarah last year when I did some voluntary work for the Time to Talk campaign outside Chapelfield shopping centre where we encouraged people to talk openly about mental health to help to try and change people’s perceptions and attitudes. It was a huge success. I have done quite a lot of volunteer work for them in the past and it has really helped me to become more open about my own difficulties.
The group came up with lots of ideas and decided that they wanted to bring the Time to Change Village event which was held in London earlier this year to Norwich. I was thrilled as Oz Osborne who works for Time to Change and has also worked with me on my project, is one of the people who came up with the idea and helped to design it. He is very creative and the idea of the Village is a brilliant concept.
I was asked to put their showreel of films together in a timeline with words fading in and out which was shown in the Cinema part of the village, and I got paid which is amazing. I have since had to do a couple of alterations to it so that it can be shown all around the country at many events. I am so proud to have been a part of it and helped in a small way and it really helped me with my confidence when I was not feeling well to do something so important. The thank you letter they sent me was so lovely and means so much to me, they really understand how to communicate and make you feel valued. I was supposed to do some voluntary work with the Village in London but was unable to go so I am thrilled it is coming to Norwich.
They are planning the event for September so can’t wait. I hope it encourages people to change their perception and attitudes about Mental Health and helps them to understand. It is through talking and education that people will realise that it can happen to anyone and it is nothing to be ashamed of. I strongly believe by speaking out, we can help reduce the stigma and discrimination and help people to understand Mental Health. The Time to Change campaign has been hugely successful and I predict it will go on to be even more successful in the future. They really understand how to communicate with people which is so important and actively want to engage with the public to change attitudes. That is what I like about them, you feel like you are actually doing something helpful and useful, something which actually makes a difference and which gives you a real buzz – great for your wellbeing. I like the fact that their volunteers and some of the people they employ have lived experience. It makes you feel valued and I am sure many people have benefited from taking part in their campaign.


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Showreel on ‘Shooting People’ Professional Filmmakers Website

Shooting People – Link to ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Showreel

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Article advertised in Shooting People Bulletin

Shooting People is a professional network for filmmakers and I have been a member for many years. I recently posted my showreel on the site and they send out regular bulletins so it is a great way to promote the project.

Showreel on website, image of Yessica

I have also used this website to advertise for the voiceover artists in the past for the role of Yessica and the Magician. I got over 100 applicants so it is quite a good place to advertise. I also advertised locally in Norwich. We interviewed people at Mind and got people to send in their voiceover samples. I really enjoyed it and met loads of interesting very talented people. Articles about this in previous blogs.

We got the perfect people for the voiceover roles. Matt Oliver for the ‘Magician’ and Orna Salinger for ‘Yessica’. Extremely talented artists.

Image of showreel from Yessica’s Journey ideas

Below is slideshow of some screenshots from showreel.

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Linkedin Professional Network

Linkedin Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Linkedin is a professional network where you can exchange information, ideas, learn, discuss and show your CV and work experience. I joined many years ago when I was at Uni but did not use it much. Recently I have updated my profile to reflect my work experience and qualifications. I have also recently asked for recommendations for the work I have done and I am thrilled to have received 16 which is great. I have also recommended people and it is great to help others in this way. I am hoping it will help me to find some work.

I have also joined various groups and forums both for Mental Health and Wellbeing and Creative groups for animation and software applications. I have found these very helpful and informative. I have got into quite a few discussions. One lady from America liked my comment about Mental Health and asked permission to use it at a presentation on Mental Health so I was thrilled. I was talking about that I think it is important to educate people, help to change their attitude, perception and understanding of mental health difficulties…..’, I wrote about a paragraph. Here are some of the discussion comments I have left on various forums. I have met and talked to many interesting people and learnt so much. It is a great way to discuss important issues and interact with others who have similar interests and experience.


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Bipolar UK – Norwich Self Help Group for people with Bipolar

Bipolar UK website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I received a letter from Bipolar UK about establishing a new self-help group for people with Bipolar in Norwich. They are looking for people to attend the group and also run it. This also includes, carers, partners, friends and family members. The meeting is on Tuesday 3rd July at Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane in Norwich and starts at 7.30pm in the evening. Please click on the link above to go to their website.

I think this is a great idea and gives people the opportunity to talk, share and gain advice and information.

Unfortunately I am unable to attend but I have passed the letter to the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Mind and several other people I know. I hope the meeting is successful and a group is formed which will help many people.

I am a member of Bipolar UK and they have been very supportive on my project. They put an article in their magazine about ‘Yessica’s Journey’ and Yessica ended up on the front cover of the magazine which was fantastic. They have also supported me with testimonials when I recently applied for additional funding for the project. Thank you to Bipolar UK for all your help and support, I do appreciate it. I have also attended one of their annual events in London which was really interesting. If you want to find out more about this organisation or become a member please click on the link above.


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Peter Gianfrancesco from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and his sister Maureen visit – Yessica’s Journey Animation Project

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind with his sister Maureen from Australia and Anastacia

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind with his sister Maureen from Australia and Anastacia

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website

Peter Gianfrancesco who is the Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and his sister Maureen from Australia visited me yesterday to see the progress of the Yessica’s Journey Animation project. Peter is one of my Mentors representing Mind who has also supported the project with funding, help and advise.

I really enjoyed showing them both all the work which has been completed so far. They were both very encouraging and seemed impressed with what has been achieved so far. Thanks to both of them for coming to see me and the Yessica’s Journey Animation project and for being so supportive.


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Meeting with Charlie Gauvain

Charlie and Anastacia

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Eye Film and Television Website

Charlie Gauvain is the new ‘Production Manager’ for the project and works as an Executive Producer at Eye Film and TV (see earlier blog for more information about charlie.  We met today for a meeting to discuss the new ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Schedule plan, Financial Plan and Contract. The meeting went well and Charlie and I will be meeting on a regular basis once a month.

Charlie’s main role is to support, advise and assist me with the project. This will include financial, planning a schedule, marketing, DVD authoring, advise on production and monitoring the progression of the project and ensure that the film is produced on time and within budget.

Charlie’s knowledge and experience of working in Film and TV for many years will be very beneficial to myself and the project and I look forward to working with him.


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Time to Change Event Showreel – Mental Health Stigma and Discrimination

Time to Change Website – Mental Health, Stigma and Discrimination

Previous Blog Article for Time to Change Village Event

Time to Change TV advert 

Time to Talk, Time to Change – Interactive Video

© Copyright Anastacia Tohill 2012 Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy, duplicate or download images/text. © Time to Change images from films created for organisation.

Time to Change Showreel created in Adobe After Effects 5.5 showing ‘Ben and Ellie’s Fifth Date’ film clip

I was thrilled to be asked to update the Time to Change Village Event Showreel recently so it can be used at many events all around the country. I am so pleased to have been given this opportunity to do something useful, something which makes a small difference and helps the Time to Change Campaign which I feel very passionate about. As an artist I like doing meaningful creative art which has a purpose so this was great to do.

I received a lovely thank you letter and a Champions badge from Keith and Richard who work at Time to Change. The letter made me feel really happy and made me smile. It really does mean a lot to me and I am so pleased I was able to help the Time to Change campaign in a small way. The power of words and a little smile can make such a big difference to someones wellbeing and this certainly gave me a huge and much needed lift. They really understand how to communicate well with people, and they know how to listen – words can go a long way to helping people, they can be very powerful and uplifting for your wellbeing.

I have been involved in some voluntary Time to Change work with Oz Osborne in the past and it really helped me to talk about my own mental health difficulties and not to be ashamed. I think it is an extremely important and worthwhile campaign and I know it is going to be even more successful in the future. I hope it helps to change peoples attitudes about Mental Health discrimination and most importantly helps people to understand.

I am so proud to have been given the chance to work for the campaign and was thrilled when Oz asked me to produce it. It has helped me a lot with my confidence and motivation as I have recently been unwell. It was fantastic as I was paid and this made me feel very proud to work for such an important campaign.

Thank you to Time to Change, Oz Osborne, Keith and Richard for giving me this opportunity and I hope I can work again for the campaign in the future.

Time to Change Showreel created in Adobe After Effects 5.5 – Logo

Time to Change is about changing people’s attitudes, their perception and acceptance of people with Mental Health Difficulties. Challenging the Stigma and Discrimination associated with it. What I love about this campaign is that they actively engage with people who have Mental Health difficulties both through volunteer work, paid jobs and involving people in many different ways. They go out to the people and interact, they help to reeducate and involve people in the community and most importantly change people’s attitudes through talking, listening and discussion.

Time to Change Showreel created in Adobe After Effects 5.5 written by Oz Osborne

Above is a screenshot from the showreel which Oz Osborne, who works for Time to Change, has written. Below is a screenshot showing the very effective recent TV advert which is brilliant. I really like it as it uses humor which is always effective in getting a message across. Click on the links at the top of this blog article to view the TV advert and the TV interactive advert. Check it out on YouTube. Time to Change our TV advert.

Below is a slideshow of some of the screenshots from the creation of the Time to Change Showreel. I created the showreel in Adobe After Effects 5.5 which is one of my favourite programs. You have a timeline and can add video footage, text, sound, animation and special effects. I am using this program to create some of my animation for ‘Yessica’s Journey’.

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Claire Lussignea, Lead Psychologist from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Question and Answer Document

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill and Claire Lussignea from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy, duplicate or download text.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

I attended the Service User Redesign and Communication Group meeting in January (see earlier blog). Service Users from Hellesdon Hospital – the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and other organisations were invited to the meeting to discuss two pathways – the Non Psychotic and Psychotic disorder and the Wellbeing Service.
This is the question and answer document which Claire and I produced which I am very proud of. I hope that this helps towards a positive and a greater involvement of Service Users working in partnership with the Trust to help one another and to learn from each other and to improve services and care as well as acknowledge the services which are working well. The document has been sent to the Redesign group which Claire requested and the Service Users Council and I hope that it has been helpful and encourages other service users to actively get involved in helping to shape, redesign and improve the NHS.
Thank you to Claire Lussignea, Lead Psychologist, and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Marketing Department for kindly giving me permission to publish this document.

27th January 2012

Anastacia Tohill  |  Service User Council Member | Service User Redesign and Communications Sub Group Member.

Here are some of the questions I wanted to ask but we ran out of time at our Redesign meeting on 26th January with the Non Psychotic and Psychotic disorder Pathway Staff. If you need further clarification about the questions or more details please do not hesitate to contact me.

These are my own questions that I wanted to ask but I will pass this information onto the rest of the group who may also find it useful.

I would like to thank Claire Lussignea who is the lead Clinician and lead Psychologist at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and was one of the members of staff on the Psychotic Disorder Pathway panel who has kindly taken the time and trouble to answer my questions. I also want to thank any other staff who also contributed to the answers. She said that we are still in the early stages of working out the Radical Redesign process and there is still a lot to be worked out and it is hard to capture complex issues. She has encouraged me to get back to her to discuss anything further from her answers. Thank you I do appreciate it and I have found it extremely helpful and encouraging.

I hope other service users and staff find it helpful and useful and I hope it encourages and helps to formulate new ideas, discussions and ways of improving the NHS system.

  1. If hope is central to recovery how will you use Service Users lived experiences to show hope to people who are experiencing Psychosis?

How will you use Service Users stories of hope?
How will you monitor the process?
How will you make sure the process is fair?

Answer: ‘Hi – we haven’t yet worked out all the detail around how we will use people with a lived experience within the service. We will be asking the service user redesign and communications group for some ideas as to how you think this would best work. However my personal thinking is that using people’s personal stories is usually a very powerful tool.’

How will you safeguard vulnerable adults who are feeling unwell and ensure they receive the right advice and message of hope? Would you provide professional training for Service Users and what would this be?

Answer: ‘There are formal training programmes which include supervision and coordination roles. There are different models used throughout the country. We will be looking at these and plan to use a tried and tested approach.’


How will you select suitable candidates for the role?

Answer: ‘Please see above’

  1. Have you thought about using creative activity as a way to help people who are experiencing Mental Health problems and creating useful projects which actually enhance peoples wellbeing and confidence and helps them to explore their own mental health?

Answer: ‘This is a very good idea. In an ideal world I would like to see such projects being service user led but with the required support and administrative support provided by the mental health service. Do you have any particular ideas? There is no barrier to us helping get these off the ground.’

  1. Research is very important in understanding Mental Health. Have you thought about using ‘Service User’ Research to enhance the Trust’s understanding of Psychosis. Using service users stories of experience, specific case studies, questionnaires, interviews. monitoring, recording and analysing the results to help improve the understanding of Psychosis?

Answer: ‘The Trust has a Research Dept which I know is supportive of Service User Research. The Early intervention Service is also very active in undertaking research into psychosis. I can provide contact details for you should you wish.’

Are you involved with other organisations with research into psychosis?

Answer: ‘Yes some of the research undertaken is collaborative with other organisations.’

  1. How will you ensure that Service Users are treated as individuals and recognise that each person has a unique experience of Mental Health? Are you going to move away from the typical tick box system and one size fits all way of thinking?

Answer: ‘I think what you are talking about here is a change in culture and in attitude of staff members. Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust has joined up to support IMROC which is a project looking at changing the culture and approach of mental health services to recovery. It is very focussed on putting the service user at the centre of the work. Would you like more information on this?’

The organisation is also in the process of revising its CPA paperwork. We will ensure service users participate in this review to ensure any new paperwork does not lead to a tick box system.

  1. Often personal qualities, experience and skills are equally as important as qualifications. What personal qualities and skills will you be looking for in staff.

Answer: ‘I think looking at some of the information coming out of the IMROC project will answer this better than I can. I will forward you some of the information on my return from leave and then we can have a chat if this does not answer your questions.

On every job description there is a list of personal qualities we are looking for from the staff member doing that job. We are also hoping to increase the number of job interviews that service users are on the panel for so that you are the people helping to determine who is employed.’

How will you make sure that you find the right staff with the right attitude and skills to help people experiencing mental health problems?

Answer: ‘See above.’

How will you monitor the effectiveness of staff?
How will you make sure that your staff receive proper training and guidance, support and time to ensure they give a good effective service. If staff are unhappy this sometimes reflects badly on the very people they are trying to help.

Answer: ‘All staff have clinical supervision and managerial supervision and also an annual appraisal of their effectiveness. These are the systems that are in place to support the above. However we are currently looking at Suffolk’s clinical supervision system to see if there are things we can learn from it.

The Trust’s training dept runs lots of courses and workshops for people. Some of which are mandatory. Staff are also supported to attend external courses. All this training is designed to ensure staff are receiving the necessary training and guidance to do their job effectively.’

  1. How will you ensure that you provide a fair system for everyone who experiences mental health problems. What will you do to ensure this? In a tick box type system often many people are left out from being helped as certain criteria can go against them.

Answer: ‘I am hoping that when the Payment by Results system comes in for mental health this will help for a fairer system. People will be allocated to a care cluster and each care cluster has a package of care attached to it that describes exactly what someone should get and options of things that should be thought about and discussed with them. This should mean less of a lottery about what help someone receives.’

  1. How can you ensure that assumptions are not made about what someone experiencing Psychosis says? How will you ensure that they are listened to properly? Sometimes people may have delusions but sometimes in amongst the delusions there may be some real events happening which are true. How will you differentiate this and how will you offer reassurance to someone?

Answer: ‘I think this is about the skills of the staff (so comes back to appropriate training and knowledge) and attitude of the staff (which comes back to the IMROC work and effective recruitment and supervision and appraisal).’

  1. Medication is important in helping someone to get well but talking therapy is equally as important especially in helping people to understand what is happening to them, why it is happening and how they can help themselves. It also opens the doorway to TRUST and HOPE. What talking therapies are being offered as a service by the Trust for people who are or have experienced psychosis?

Answer: ‘The care packages describe what should be offered to people with psychosis depending on which care cluster they are in. However as standard anyone with a new presentation of psychosis should be assessed for whether they are likely to benefit from CBT. However other therapies are also available depending on need. The trust provides a range of therapies including CBT, CAT, IPT and EMDR as standard.’

Is the Trust actively seeking out new and old therapies, researching therapies and trying out therapies to find out which ones work best and also find out good professional organisations and therapists which work and work well? Sometimes what works for one person will not work for others so it is important to offer a wide diverse range of therapies and therapists. It the Trust using Research to formulate ideas?

Answer: ‘The Trust is not doing all the research itself. This type of research involves many hundreds of people and therefore some people in the Trust are involved in big national studies looking at this. The National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness also periodically reviews the research evidence base for the treatment of different conditions and the Trust endeavours to follow these guidelines.’

Is this something Service Users could be involved in helping with – surveys, questionnaires etc. Monitor and recording of information perhaps so there is a database of good therapists and therapies. Could service users help the Trust in researching therapies in some way?

Answer: ‘I believe that the Trust’s Research Dept is keen to involve Service Users in research. I can provide a contact for you should you wish?’

  1. What do you think of the idea about psychiatry becoming like other medical specialities where there is a range of tests including imaging tests of the brain functions, blood tests and psychological tests to find out about susceptibility factors to mental health problems, help with diagnosis and enable help in a different way?

Answer: ‘I think this already exists for some conditions but not for others. This is not something I have discussed with colleagues but my own personal view is that we should make use of whatever is useful out there to help us understand our experiences.’


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Yessica’s Journey Exhibited at the Upstairs Gallery in Beccles presenting StigmARTa Exhibition of work – May 16th – 31st

Upstairs Gallery in Beccles Website

StigmARTa Exhibition - ‘A thought provoking look at arts and service users, arts and their uses in therapy and inclusion, and people’s opinions of the words Mental Health and the stigmas attached.’ ‘Arts are used in the mental health service to bring confidence and voluntary communication back into the public life and work situations for mental health users.’ {quote taken from Michelle Payne Upstairs Gallery)

The Upstairs Gallery in Beccles – StigmARTa Exhibition

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I was thriled to be given the opportunity of exhibiting some of my artwork at the Gallery. I displayed two Illustrations from the Yessica’s Journey project – Dawn Light and the Yessica Character. The Gallery is fantastic, and it was lovely to meet the staff including Michelle who is very passionate about Art, Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Development of Yessica Character for ‘Yessica’s Journey’ – Mixed Media

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

The exhibition is so important in educating the public about Mental Health and the Discrimination and Stigma associated with it. Using Art and Creativity for wellbeing and confidence is something I feel very passionately about.

‘Dawn Light’. Mixed Media, Traditional with Digital

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

The work displayed is fantastic and I recommend a visit to the Gallery to see the Exhibition. It is very inspiring to see so many talented artists who are helping to educate through creativity and challenge stigma.
The Gallery also exhibits many artists work which can be purchased. Thank you to Michelle Payne for giving me this opportunity and for organising an exhibition on Mental Health which I think is fantastic.


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Peter Edge ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Mentor working at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Wellbeing Service

Peter Edge ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Mentor

© Copyright 2011 Anastacia Tohill – Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy, duplicate or download images or text.

Wellbeing Service Ready to Change Website

Living Life to the Full Website

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

I would like to congratulate Peter Edge on his new job with the Wellbeing Service at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust. He was originally working in the Early Intervention Psychosis Team at 80 St. Stephens. I am so pleased for him and I think he will be very successful in his new role and a huge asset to the Trust.

Peter was the NHS representative mentor for the project and joined ‘Yessicas Journey’ last summer. Although I am sad to see him go and will miss his input, I am pleased he has a new job helping many people within the Wellbeing Service.

I would like to thank Peter for all the time he has given me and to the ‘Yessicas Journey’ project. I would like to thank him for his enthusiasm and interest and I appreciate all the time and advice he has given. He has been a great Mentor and has brought so much to the project. He was especially helpful with the script and feedback and I will never forget the comments he made after reading it. I knew straight away that he had a very good understanding of Psychosis and Mental Health. He also attended the Voice Over recording for the script last year which was great. Hopefully Peter will be able to come to the launch when the animation is finished.

I am so pleased that there are people like Peter working in the Trust who really understand Mental Health and Wellbeing. I have enjoyed working with Peter who I consider to be a very kind and caring person. I am sure he will be able to help many people within the NHS with mental health difficulties. He has good understanding and communication skills and I wish him every success for the future.

Many Thanks Peter


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Jacqui Dillon Website – Mental Health and Wellbeing

Jacqui Dillon Website

I was sent this link by a colleague and it is a very interesting and informative website which I recommend. Jacqui is a writer, public speaker, trainer and offers consultancy. She has personal and professional experience of Mental Health and Wellbeing. I bought two of her books on the website recently but have not read them yet but from what I have read on her website she is an excellent writer.


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Insight Magazine Article – Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Yessica’s Journey Exhibited at the Fruits of Mind Exhibition

The Well Artists Website

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website – Insight Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Copyright – Some text and screenshots taken from the Insight Magazine from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

‘More than 40 artists with mental health problems exhibited their work at the annual Fruits of the Mind exhibition in Norwich. The exhibition, organised jointly with the Well artists’ collective – took place at the Forum. Around £500 worth of artwork was sold, comprising around one picture in every five. Many artists were exhibiting for the first time, and some were delighted to collect cash rather than their paintings at the end of the week.’

‘Many encouraging comments were left in the visitors’ book, and the curators from the Well had many interesting discussions with members of the public about mental health and art.’

‘If you would like to be involved in organising the next exhibition, or setting up an artists’ co-operative in your locality, contact helen.simpson@nwmhp.nhs.uk
You can find out more about the Well by visiting www.thewellartists.co.uk’
(Quotes and text taken from Spring Insight Magazine Article – © Copyright Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust)

I exhibited 2 pieces of Artwork at the Fruits of the Mind exhibition last year. To see blog article and Artwork displayed please click on link  (Blog Article of Fruits of the Mind Exhibition 10th-14th October at the Forum Norwich)

Yessica’s First Character Design which I exhibited can be seen in the Insight Magazine Article. She is just peeping through in the background which I thought was quite good. I was thrilled to see her there. See screenshot below taken from the Insight Magazine. I have added text to show the Illustration in the background.

Artists Exhibit Fruits of the Mind Exhibition including Yessica’s Journey

The NHS and the Well do a fantastic job of displaying artists work who have experienced mental health difficulties. I was thrilled to be involved. It was great to be given the opportunity and this is the first time I have exhibited my artwork so it meant a lot to me.

Screenshot of Insight Magazine Cover

Above is a screenshot of the Cover of the Insight Magazine from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Images of Maggie Wheeler who is the Chair and Aidan Thomas who is the Chief Executive.

The Insight Magazine is published on a quarterly basis and can be downloaded from the website. For more information and to contribute an article please phone the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Trust Communications on 01603 421494 | email: communications@nsft.nhs.uk

You can become a member of the Trust and can receive the magazine in printed format as well as downloadable format. Please visit Membership at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust



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“People recover from psychotic disorders all the time, all over the world.” Our mental health system’s denial of this costs lives

Anastacia:

I found this article which was reblogged really interesting from the A Little Colour blog by Kenyatta Yamel. It was reblogged from the ‘beyond meds’ by Suzanne Beachy It talks about recovery from Psychotic Disorders. An article which gives hope and well worth reading. Hope I have got this reblogging right as it is the first time I have done it.

Originally posted on Beyond Meds:

Any diagnosis of mental illness results in a complicated and uncertain fate for those it strikes. When you lose a son as a result of such a diagnosis, it ignites a search for answers. Suzanne Beachy has gained a perspective on life as a result of her loss but is still asking, what is the truth?

The below article was first published at  Holistic Recovery from Schizophrenia a blog that regularly provides hope to those with the diagnosis of schizophrenia. People recover completely all the time, but it’s just not widely shared! 

This post is written by Suzanne Beachy. Below this article I’ve posted her Ted Talk where she asks some questions that everyone interested in those labeled with bipolar and schizophrenia should be asking. Psychosis does not need to be a life sentence! 

By Suzanne Beachy

What happened to Jake?

Seven years after being hospitalized in a psych ward…

View original 733 more words


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A Little Local Colour – Kenyatta Yamel Blog – Reblogged article on psychotic disorders

Reblogged from A Little Local Colour – Kenyatta Yamel Blogsite

Article reblogged – ‘People recover from psychotic disorders all the time, all over the world.” Our mental health system’s denial of this costs lives. Original blog from Beyond Meds by Suzanne Beachy

For the first time one of my articles on the Yessica’s Journey blog has been reblogged by Kenyatta Yamel – A Little Local Colour blog. She reblogged my article – ‘On the Brink of a Mental Health Revolution’. I don’t know much about reblogging so I hope I have done this right. I was thrilled she found the article useful and interesting. Her blog has many interesting articles about Mental Health and Wellbeing.

I found the above article very interesting, please click on the link above to view the article and her blog.


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How Apple iPads improve the patient experience

Link to article from Health Leaders sent by Linked in

Apple UK Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Linked in Article – Health Leaders Media.

I got this article sent to me via the LinkedIn Social Network for Professionals. Please read the article link above. It is really interesting that they are using Apple’s iPad in creative ways. It is helping plan patients care and clinical care. It is helping patient education and planning their care and recovery.

I have been using Apple computers for years and love them. They are so easy to use and very visual. As a creative artist the ease of use, reliability and visual interface makes it unique in the computer world. Highly recommend Apple Macs, they are reliable and rarely get viruses compared to PC’s.

Screenshot of iPad taken from Apple UK website

© Copyright 2012 screenshot taken from Apple UK website.  All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

I think that is it great that the NHS is embracing technology in a creative way. I hope this is something the Mental Health Organisations will consider as I think it could be very beneficial in Mental Health and Wellbeing.

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